random tidbits

Last week in music discussion, our TA offered extra credit to anyone who could find out the name of the motown hit that used the same melody as Bach’s Minuet in G, and what group it was. In my infinite nerdiness, I already knew the answer: “A Lover’s Concerto” by the Toys (thank you Mr. Holland’s Opus!). Though it’s pretty repetitive, you can’t deny it’s a catchy song.

The other day in film class we watched Footlight Parade. I was excited because I’ve heard so many James Cagney impressions (and by that I mean the reference in Help! and Micky Dolenz’s “inimitable James Cagney” in a bunch of Monkees episodes) but never truly watched one of his movies. Turns out in this one he’s not a gangster but a mild-mannered musical producer, haha. Just as great. So in case you ever wanted to see James Cagney tap-dancing:

Also, I am really enjoying Charlie Chaplin’s autobiography. It’s fascinating to read about the social interactions between people who are now considered legendary…dinner parties with Mr. and Mrs. Einstein, Rachmaninoff, Aldous Huxley…I can only imagine. There was a part I read today about William Randolph Hearst, which I found amusing:

At times he was surprisingly childish and his feelings could be easily hurt. I remember one evening while we were choosing sides for a game of charades, he complained that he had been left out. “Well,” said Jack Gilbert facetiously, “we’ll play a charade on our own, and act out the word ‘pillbox’ – I’ll be the box and you can be the pill.” But W.R. took it the wrong way; his voice quivered. “I don’t want to play your old charades,” he said, and with that he left the room, slamming the door behind him.

It’s so funny to visualize all these movie stars and distinguished men gathered in San Simeon playing party games, haha. I guess they’re really not that different from anyone else.

***New obsession warning***

Charlie Chaplin = amazing. I now have a new appreciation for silent films. Although it takes considerable ability to create witty dialogue and believable conversation, it takes another kind of talent altogether to convey the same humor and emotion without words. In the past two weeks I’ve watched more silent films than I probably thought I’d watch in my entire lifetime.

Anyway, I can’t get enough of Charlie Chaplin. I’ve been reading a ton of books on him for my research paper and haven’t gotten tired of it yet. He was everything – writer, director, actor, composer, comedian…how can you not love him?

And as usual, I have YouTube to thank for feeding my obsessions…here’s some things I likely wouldn’t have found otherwise:

Blooper Reel – I looooove this! Every time he cracks up it makes me smile. :)
The Great Dictator – Not only was he a master of silent comedy, but just as funny in sound. Tighten de belten, hahaha.
Charlie as himself – Charlie in real life, without the tramp attire. Awww I just want to hug him!

gliding down over Mulholland

I can finally say that I’m truly happy to be in LA. I’ve had a kind of love-hate relationship with the city the past two years, but now I’ve grown to love it. The traffic and smog still suck, but I like the feeling of being a part of something big. And I love discovering new and exciting things, which there are plenty of.

I began making an LA playlist: songs from my itunes that are specifically about the city, or at least make significant references to it. I have compiled part of it into a convenient list of video links, for your (or perhaps only my) enjoyment:

Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty. The ultimate LA-imagery song for me: “It’s a long day livin in Reseda/There’s a freeway runnin through the yard…”
Imitation of Life – R.E.M. I first saw this video in a motel room somewhere when I was like 12, and it stuck with me for some reason. It’s been a favorite ever since.
Cruisin’ – Mike Nesmith. So incredibly 80s! I love the scenes of Sunset Strip…and Mike at the end, baha. This song usually gets stuck in my head forever.
LA Woman – The Doors. This video was made way later than the song, but it has a 60s Mustang so it’s still cool.
Beverly Hills – Weezer. Duh.

There are/will be more, but those are the videos I could find at the moment. There’s nothing like listening to this playlist while riding down Sunset Blvd. on a Saturday morning…