Sunday, March 27, 2005

Has Broadway "Lost Its Voice"?

Anyone who knows me will surely mention that I'm no stranger when it comes to musical comedy. That's why this article in the New York Times caught my eye. This should give you the sense of it:
"The style of vocalizing that is rewarded on "American Idol" - by its panel of on-air judges and by the television audience that votes on the winners - is both intensely emotional and oddly impersonal. The accent is on abstract feelings, usually embodied by people of stunning ordinariness, than on particular character. Quivering vibrato, curlicued melisma, notes held past the vanishing point: the favorite technical tricks of "Idol" contestants are often like screams divorced from the pain or ecstasy that inspired them.

"The Broadway musical has always had its share of big-voiced belters, from Ethel Merman to Patti LuPone. But they have usually belonged to the tradition of Broadway as a temple to magnified idiosyncrasies, to performers for whom song is an extension of individuality. Which is why when Simon Cowell, the most notoriously harsh of "American Idol's" judges, describes a contestant as "too Broadway," it is meant as a withering dismissal. Carol Channing, Robert Preston, Jerry Orbach and Gwen Verdon wouldn't stand a chance in the court of Cowell. And if they were starting out today, they probably wouldn't stand a chance in Broadway musicals either."

To be honest, I haven't seen a new musical in years. I suppose the newest musical I've seen has been "The Civil War" which pretty perfectly fits the description of the "New Broadway Voice" in the article and, to be fair, gets a mention. Whether or not change is good, the article is. Give it a read. And support musical theater.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Casino Blogging

The view from my hotel window at the Imperial Palace. Not spectacular, but I could see the people across the way at Harrah's doing God knows what. Posted by Hello

They were playing a cover of "The Boys of Summer". I nearly wet myself. Posted by Hello

Strange dancing statues at the Caesar's Palace Forum Shops. Posted by Hello

Me in front of Caesar's Palace. Posted by Hello

Zac gets into the spirit. Posted by Hello

Martha enjoys an ENORMOUS drink. Posted by Hello

Zac, Amy, Nicole and Martha wait for a show of some kind that never happened. Posted by Hello

Imperial Palace by night. Posted by Hello

The Imperial Palace. My home-sweet-home for 4 days and 3 nights. Posted by Hello

The lion at the MGM Grand. Posted by Hello

Monday, March 21, 2005

One More Thing Before I Go

James Lileks makes a comparison between the Terri Schiavo case to the plight of Captain Christopher Pike. I'm not certain how appropriate it is to line her up against any pop culture in order to find direction, but I've got to admit to being a little overwhelmed by the extreme moral ambiguity of the thing. Lileks has a little more personal clarity (maybe I would if I focused on the Pike example), but I'll let you read it and see for yourself.

"Spock, why would I need a living will?"

Viva Las Vegas

I leave for "Spring Break '05 - Las Vegas" late tomorrow morning. I promise some gnarly photoblogging when I get back. I'll try and blog if I can get internet access while I'm there, but I make no promises. I mean, it's not as though I update that thing THAT often when I'm in Chicago, let alone traveling. We'll see. Anyhow, have a nice week, all.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Englishmen I Like: Part 6 - The Return

The Moz
The Mozzer
The Pope of Mope

Whichever name you prefer, there's no getting around the sublimity of the ever-exquisite Morrissey. I've been watching the DVD that came with my "You Are the Quarry: Special Edition" It reminded me how much I love the Moz. And how much me saying so would probably enrage him. Thank you.

More Englishmen I like here, here, here, here, and here. And here's the one that started it all.

Friday, March 18, 2005

George Kennan

George Kennan, the father of containment, potentially the most successful Grand Strategy in the history of the United States, died yesterday. It's a sad day for America. If you're not familliar with Kennan, I'd suggest you check this out.

Incidentally, the Walgreen lectures, the source of Kennan's book American Diplomacy was also the source for the famous essays by Leo Strauss Natural Right and History.