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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Period, Not Full Stop

intermission = a period during which action temporarily ceases; 
an interval between  periods of action or activity.
Too much things to do this upcoming year. I will continue posting whenever I feel like sharing experiences, feelings or ideas, but not daily as up to now. So please drop by every now and then, but don't expect to find a new blog post every morning.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Begging For A Break

“I didn't have to think up so much as a comma or a semicolon; it was all given, straight from the celestial recording room. Weary, I would beg for a break, an intermission, time enough, let's say, to go to the toilet or take a breath of fresh air on the balcony. Nothing doing!”
Henry Miller

Monday, December 29, 2014

Girl From The North Country

If you're traveling the north country fair
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
Remember me to one who lives there
For she once was a true love of mine.

If you go when the snowflakes storm
When the rivers freeze and summer ends
Please see if she has a coat so warm
To keep her from the howlin' winds.

Please see if her hair hangs long
If it rolls and flows all down her breast
Please see for me if her hair's hanging long
For that's the way I remember her best.

I'm a-wonderin' if she remembers me at all
Many times I've often prayed
In the darkness of my night
In the brightness of my day.

So if you're travelin' the north country fair
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was the true love of mine.

Bob Dylan





Sunday, December 28, 2014

Dylan & Cash


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Being A Friend

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
Albert Camus


Friday, December 26, 2014

From Broadway To Havanna

A new production of Rent opened in Havana, Cuba, on Christmas Eve. The Broadway musical is the first to open in Cuba in decades. Rent is a rock musical with music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson[1] loosely based on Giacomo Puccini's opera La Bohème. It tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists struggling to survive and create a life in New York City's East Village in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. Three years ago the Cuban Ministry of Culture invited NWE (a veteran American entertainment business and prolific Broadway producer) – to "explore what was happening creatively in Havana". Nederlander responded by bringing Broadway Ambassadors – a revue of Broadway hits sung by Broadway actors – to the 14th Annual Havana Theatre Festival, and the reaction was so positive that he was encouraged to return with something more ambitious: Rent.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

How To Find Harmony

Do not weep; do not wax indignant. Understand.
Baruch Spinoza (1632 - 1677)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Dog


















"Tonight’s my first night as a watchdog,

And here it is Christmas Eve.

The children are sleepin’ all cozy upstairs,

While I’m guardin’ the stockin’s and tree.



What’s that now--footsteps on the rooftop?

Could it be a cat or a mouse?

Who’s this down the chimney?

A thief with a beard--

And a big sack for robbin’ the house?

I’m barkin’ I’m growlin’
I’m bittin’ his butt.

He howls and jumps back in his sleigh.

I scare his strange horses, they leap in the air.

I’ve frightened the whole bunch away.


Now the house is all peaceful and quiet again,

The stockin’s are safe as can be.

Won’t the kiddies be glad when they wake up tomorrow

And see how I’ve guarded the tree."

Shel Silverstein

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Ready To Rock Broadway

The Really Useful Group, Warner Music Group & Access Industries, The Shubert Organization, and The Nederlander Organization announced today that School of Rock The Musical, will have its World Premiere on Broadway.

Previews will begin on Monday, November 2, 2015 at the Winter Garden Theatre, with an opening set for Sunday, December 6th. Based on the smash hit 2003 film of the same title, School of Rock will feature music from the movie, as well as new music written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Glenn Slater, with a book by Julian Fellowes. School of Rock—The Musical will be directed by Laurence Connor (currently represented on Broadway by Les Miserables).

Produced by Paramount Pictures, the 2003 film was directed by Richard Linklater and starred Jack Black in a career-defining performance. The film received universal critical acclaim and was hailed by The New York Times as an “irresistible comic postscript to the rock revolution.” The film went on to gross more than $130 million worldwide.

In School of Rock—The Musical, down-on-his-luck wannabe rock star Dewey Finn poses as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school to make ends meet. When he discovers his students’ musical talents, he enlists his fifth-graders to form a rock group and conquer the Battle of the Bands.

Three-time Grammy Award-winner Rob Cavallo also joins the creative team. Cavallo is one of the top-selling record producers in the world, has been involved in albums that have sold more than 150 million units and has worked with Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Paramore, Goo Goo Dolls, Phil Collins, Cary Clark Jr., among others.

Cavallo said “School of Rock is a wonderful film, a rock and roll story that transcends the genre with passion and heart. To be able to creatively collaborate with Andrew Lloyd Webber, Glenn Slater, Julian Fellowes and the rest of the team is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I can’t wait to see School of Rock take on a whole new life.”

Co-producers The Shubert Organization and The Nederlander Organization issued a joint statement: “This partnership is an extension of a longstanding and productive relationship between our two organizations, and it gives us the exciting opportunity to work with Andrew again. We are thrilled to be on the producing team with The Really Useful Group and Warner Music Group to bring School of Rock The Musical to Broadway.”

“I am excited to be working on bringing Jack Black and Mike White’s iconic movie to the stage,” said Andrew Lloyd Webber. “It is a joy for me to return to my Jesus Christ Superstar roots – when Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan was recording Jesus for Tim Rice and me at London’s Olympic Studios, Led Zeppelin was recording next door and a glimpse of a Stone or two was routine! School Of Rock is hugely about how music can empower kids. Tim Rice and my first performed piece, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, was written for a school. Ever since then I and my Art Foundation have been actively involved in music education back home in Britain. It will be a joy to discover and work with talented musical kids in the USA and, who knows, maybe discover a rock star or three of the next generation.”

School of Rock will feature Choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter, Scenic and Costume Design by Anna Louizos, Lighting Design by Natasha Katz, and Sound Design by Mick Potter. Nina Lannan serves as Executive Producer.

Casting for the show will begin in January in cities across the country, including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Monday, December 22, 2014

X-mas Joy

Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.
Dave Barry
 

Sunday, December 21, 2014


Udo Jürgens, a dear friend, wonderful human being and great musician, passed away today. I’m too sad to find appropriate words. The world is bit colder now.

Seinfeld's Acceptance Speech

Last October Jerry Seinfeld received a Clio award for co-staring with Bill Gates in commercials for Microsoft, writing the ads for Acura cars and promoting American Express. The Clio is a well-respected international advertising award. Seinfeld’s acceptance speech was a comic masterpiece. “I love advertising, because I love lying,” Seinfeld told his audience of of advertisment bosses: “We know the product is going to stink. We know that.”

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

Tam Mutu Is Dr. Zhivago

Tam Mutu, the West End leading man known for his roles in Les Misérables, Love Never Dies and the upcoming Donmar Warehouse production of City of Angels, was supposed to play Maxim in the Broadway production of Rebecca that was cancelled due to financing problems. He had to wait for more than two years to get another chance to present himself on Broadway. Now he's got it. He will star in the new musical Dr. Zhivago, playing the title role. The show will also feature Barrett (Wicked, Rock of Ages) as Lara Guishar, Tony Award nominee Hewitt (Rocky Horror Show, Dracula) as Viktor Komarovsky, Nolan (Once, Jesus Christ Superstar) as Pasha Antipov and Josh Canfield as Liberius. The musical Dr. Zhivago features the work of bookwriter Michael Weller (Moonchildren, Loose Ends), composer Lucy Simon (The Secret Garden) and lyricists Michael Korie (Grey Gardens) and Amy Powers (Lizzie Borden). It will begin performances March 27, 2015, at the Broadway Theatre.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

An American, Back In Paris

Stuart Oken's production of An American in Paris just opened - in Paris, naturally. It will play at the Théâtre du Châtelet through January 4, 2015. The Broadway run of the production will begin previews Friday, March 13, 2015 for a Sunday, April 12, 2015 opening night at the Palace Theatre (Broadway at 47th Street). The musical's romantic story of a young American soldier, a beautiful French girl and the city of Paris, each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of war, was inspired by the legendary movie of the same title. The original was put together by writer Alan Jay Lerner, choreographer and star Gene Kelly and director Vincente Minnelli from a selection of George Gershwin classics 14 years after the composer's death. The new musical is directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, music and lyrics are, of course, by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin. The new book is by Tony and Pulitzer Prize nominee Craig Lucas. The Paris critics who had mixed feelings about my Dance Of The Vampires love the American in Paris.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

"Elisabeth" In China

Monday, December 15, 2014

Adam Gopnik

Since Adam Gopnik wrote his first essay in The New Yorker, "Quattrocento Baseball", which  appeared in May of 1986, I am one of his dedicated readers. I loved his Paris To the Moon, the New York Times rightfully called one of “the finest book on France”. In 2009, Gopnik completed Angels And Ages: A Short Book About Lincoln, Darwin And Modern Life, which became a national best-seller and which the Telegraph in London called “the essay every essayist would like to have written.” I love this book, though reading it makes me feel inferior. Adam Gopnik is my ideal of the writing intellectual.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Gratitude

“I’ve decided that gratitude – rather, gratefulness – is the essence of joy, the basic emotion, what we feel when we hear music we love, or look at our loved ones, or simply breathe; and growing old means only losing that emotion. The retention of gratefulness is the guarantee of continued youth.”
Leonard Bernstein

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Bleeding Edge

"One ought to be accustomed, by now, to Pynchon’s leaving his mysteries unresolved, or at least prepared to give him credit for having done so on purpose. Incompleteness is the inherent vice of paranoid theories of history, the limitation of such theories that Pynchon has always freely acknowledged. Criticism of Pynchon’s “shaggy dog” or sloppy plotting neglects the emphasis that he has always laid on the dual meaning of the word plot. From V. forward, nearly all his novels have been founded on a bedrock of detective fiction and underlayed with science fiction, boy’s adventure, westerns, spy fiction, and other genres that rely, like conspiracy theories, on plotting. His broken plots expose the epistemological brokenness of paranoid systems, which are, after all, nothing but attempts, grander but no less doomed to failure than anyone’s, to make sense of a broken world."
Michael Chabon


Friday, December 12, 2014

The Problem



"The world is at fault, not because it is inherently good or bad or anything but what it is, but because it doesn't prepare us in anything but body to get along with."
Thomas Pynchon


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Copyright Extension Albums

Since 2012, when the European Union passed a revised copyright law, extending the copyright on recordings from 50 years to 70 – but only if the recording was published during its first 50 years – record companies have been exploring their vaults for potentially marketable material in danger of losing its copyright protection if it is not released. That first year, Motown released a series of albums packed with outtakes by some of its major acts, and Sony released a limited-edition collection of 1962 outtakes by Bob Dylan, with the surprisingly frank title, “The Copyright Extension Collection, Vol. I.” In 2013, Sony released a second Dylan set, devoted to previously unreleased 1963 recordings. Similar recordings by the Beatles and the Beach Boys followed. For collectors, these sets are a boon, and they are becoming increasingly plentiful as the 50th anniversary of each year of the 1960s rolls around, moving deeper into the rock era. Record labels, however, have complied with the publication requirement reluctantly, releasing the sets in small quantities, or making them available only as digital downloads. This year’s trawl is starting to shape up. Sony has told European retailers that it will release a nine-LP set of 1964 recordings by Mr. Dylan, possibly as early as next week. Only 1,000 copies will be available, but if past years are any guide, collectors who obtain copies are likely to make copies available online before the year is out.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

There Is An Audience



"There is an audience for every musical; it's just that sometimes it can't wait long enough to find it"
Harold Prince

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Official Recognition

The Library Of America has just released a boxed set of two volumes featuring the complete books and lyrics of 16 Broadway classics, such as Show Boat, As Thousands Cheer, Oklahoma!, On the Town, South Pacific, My Fair Lady, Gypsy,  Fiddler on the Roof and Cabaret. Each of these classic musicals has evolved over time, receiving many important revivals and new productions. This Library of America boxed set offers readers unprecedented insight into this living history with a selection of hard-to-find or previously unpublished supplementary items, including lyrics of songs dropped out-of-town or added in later revivals. Lavishly illustrated with photographs and other images drawn from the original productions, the set also contains biographical sketches of the book writers and lyricists; cast lists and other information about the shows’ Broadway openings; and detailed accounts of the path each show took on the road to Broadway. As a special feature, the box includes 16 full-color postcards reproducing the original show posters.



Monday, December 8, 2014

On Musical Lyrics

Musicals are often lampooned for not minding their language at all. Detractors highlight how irritating it is when characters burst into song arbitrarily. Then, they claim, the lyrics they belt are cursory, cheesy and slapdash. Rhyme swallows meaning; melodrama gulps away feeling. Lyn Gardner made the point on the Guardian’s theatre blog that musical theatre haters are often snobs, like the Evening Standard’s David Sexton, who dismissed musicals as repellent, embarrassing and stupid – even Sondheim’s work: “The cleverer such an innately idiotic form tries to be, the more annoying it is.” Musicals are often lampooned for not minding their language at all. Detractors highlight how irritating it is when characters burst into song arbitrarily. Then, they claim, the lyrics they belt are cursory, cheesy and slapdash. Rhyme swallows meaning; melodrama gulps away feeling. Lyn Gardner made the point on the Guardian’s theatre blog that musical theatre haters are often snobs, like the Evening Standard’s David Sexton, who dismissed musicals as repellent, embarrassing and stupid – even Sondheim’s work: “The cleverer such an innately idiotic form tries to be, the more annoying it is.” (Gary Nunn, The Guardian)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Be A Rainbow!

Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.
Lord Byron

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Rando Says No To King Kong

John Rando, who won a Tony Award for “Urinetown” and directed the ill-fated Broadway production of the mutilated "Dance Of The Vampires", has turned down the offer to sign on as director of the new big-budget musical “King Kong”. He had been in advanced negotiations for the job and spent several days last month with the musical’s producer and artists in Australia, where the show – and its 20-foot-tall Kong puppet – was developed and had a world-premiere run in 2013 that altogether cost a reported $30 million, a far higher sum than most Broadway shows.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Mick & Martin's Rock Project Takes Shape


Mick Jagger and Martin Scorsese‘s ambitious, as-yet-untitled “rock project” is on its way to the screen.
Initially conceived by Jagger, it was originally planned as a film before making its way to HBO as a series concept in 2010. Titled ‘History of Music’ at one point, the show was supposed to use 40 years of pop culture as the backdrop to a long story about the long relationship between two friends. Over time, the focus was narrowed and shifted; according to the network, the series now “will explore the drug- and sex-fueled music business as punk and disco were breaking out, all through the eyes of a record executive trying to resurrect his label and find the next new sound.” Anyway, the volatile rock music scene of 1970s New York will live again in this series created by a couple of contributors who know a thing or two about rock music. It’s just the latest collaboration between Scorsese (who has already directed the pilot) and Jagger: The duo recently worked together on the 2008 Rolling Stones documentary ‘Shine a Light.’ The director also has a healthy relationship with HBO; along with Terence Winter, who’s also producing this new series, he’s part of the brain trust behind the network’s hit show ‘Boardwalk Empire.’


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Rehabilitate Luther!

Martin Luther was condemned for heresy and excommunicated in 1521 by Pope Leo X, who had initially dismissed him as “a drunken German” and predicted he would “change his mind when sober”. Luther never intended to split Christianity but only to purge the Church of corrupt practices. Nevertheless he came very close to being burned alive.
I'm neither a protestant nor a catholic, but I think it's about time the Pope rehabilitates the courageous monk from Wittenberg.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

How To Succeed As A Writer



“Rise early. Write. Disappoint your sons. Read the newspaper. Go to bed early. Success."
Arthur Miller

Monday, December 1, 2014

Gary's Songwriting Tips