Concert for Bangladesh

I’ve been in a total George Harrison mood these past few days, and as a result I put the Concert for Bangladesh on my Netflix, only to realize today that I actually own it, haha. It was hidden away in my closet, this really nice DVD box set with a poster and sticker and postcards and everything. So of course I had to watch it right away. :)

This was the first real benefit concert of its kind (it was 1971). George arranged the whole thing and it includes Ravi Shankar, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Billy Preston, Leon Russell, and Ringo Starr, to name a few. One of my favorite numbers was “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” with a guitar-duet by Eric and George at the end (I found out later that Eric was completely out of his head during this performance):

Also, a really amazing performance by Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan (the last couple minutes, around 18:00, are incredible!):

More about the concert.

Sadhanipa, from Passages

There are several really cool things about this recording. Firstly, it is from an album that was a collaboration between Ravi Shankar and Philip Glass, two absolute revolutionaries in the world of music. Secondly, it was our second movement and drum break in Esperanza’s 2006 show, Chakra. Thirdly, the tabla player is none other than Abhiman Kaushal, my teacher for past year at UCLA. I have only recently just put all three of these things together, and it’s given me an even greater appreciation for the entire album. Definitely listen to it, if you get a chance!

This song was one of the very first to go on my iPod when I went on tour in ’06. I listened to it constantly and it’s amazing to me that now, approximately four years later, I am taking lessons from Abhiman Kaushal and Shujaat Khan, have seen Ravi Shankar in concert, and spend virtually every day playing sitar and tabla. My 17-year-old self would be floored!

cool instruments, pt. 1

So I TOTALLY did not catch this at the concert, but there is a theremin solo two minutes into “The Boxer”!! How did that get there? “Hey Artie, you know what would sound great in this instrumental break…?” Haha, I love how S&G always add subtle (and apparently not-so-subtle) changes when they play live:

The theremin is fascinating to me. We talked about it a lot in film class, because it’s always associated with the strange or mentally unstable (Spellbound, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)…even though its most famous player Clara Rockmore hated that connotation and used it solely for classical pieces. By the way, if you’ve never seen a theremin being played before, definitely watch the Clara Rockmore video, it’s insane. The player never touches the instrument, but instead moves his or her hands in relation to two antennae which generate pitch and volume. It’s wicked cool.

have some holiday cheer

Tonight I watched the SNL Christmas Special, which replayed a bunch of Christmas skits from throughout the show’s history. I especially enjoyed the ones from the 70s, probably because that’s the cast I know and love most…Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner…they were all so great! So now, in celebration of Christmas (and the 70s), here is my favorite SNL cast hamming it up to Winter Wonderland:

syntax! extrareferential!

This quarter I took a really cool class called Psychology of Film Music, and for my final paper, I compared Chaplin’s City Lights and The Great Dictator (didn’t see that coming, did ya? :P). One was a silent film and one was a talkie, but it’s interesting how much they overlapped in certain aspects. For instance, with the exception of a couple of lines (also, if the title of the film wasn’t so blatantly there), it’d be hard to tell if the following clip was from the silent movie or the talkie:

I think it’s cool that Charlie still used a LOT of silent film techniques even in his later movies, and that it was still super effective. It’s one of the reasons I love him. :)

Supplementary videos:
– More from The Great Dictator: Hynkel and Napaloni
– Contains spoilers, but AHHHH it’s just so good: City Lights ending. If I’m in the right mood, this scene will make me cry, no joke. And the music really does add a lot, especially the part where she realizes who he is.
– Someone made a Great Dictator remix using the final speech and scenes from the rest of the movie. It is AMAZING.

CHA chi-CHA chi-CHA

Thanks to Hulu, Alex’s DVDs, and finals week, I am already on the third season of Arrested Development. It is a hilarious show, and I can’t believe it took me this long to start watching it. My favorite part is whenever this happens:

Winter break starts tomorrow, lots more entries on the way!