Saturday, July 4, 2015

When strange things start to emerge, part 2

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the great composer and detective, is waiting for his mid-morning repast of cherry muffins when he is visited by the great French detective inspector Charles LeChat. All the muffins have disappeared from Paris, and Inspector LeChat fears that the same fate is befalling Vienna. The culprit may be the nobleman, Don Pastrami, who has been known to sing as the great operatic tenor Apollo Grosso-Fortissimo. After exciting adventures and terrible musical puns, Mozart lures him out of hiding by playing the tiny violin that he played when he was five. Then the great and terrifying scene commences:

Mozart:  "Don Pastrami! I've come to get you!"

Don Pastrami:  "You'll never get me!"

M: "You are the awwwwwful mufffffin fieeeeend!"

DP: "I am!"

M: "Why did you take the muffins?"

DP:  "I did it. I felt like it. That's all."

M:  "You must have had a reason."

DP:  "I didn't have a reason. Go away."

M: "Tell me. Tell me why you took the muffins."

DP:  "No!"

M:  "Tell me!"

DP:  "No! "

M:  "Tell!"

DP:  "No!"

M:  ''Tell!  Tell!"

DP:  "No! No!"

M:  "At least shake show.........that you're not chiiiiiicken."

Truly one of the great scenes in opera, children's literature, or anywhere else.
--from The Muffin Fiend, Daniel Pinkwater. Lothrup, Lee & Shepherd, 1986

Friday, July 3, 2015

Lexus Verses & Flow, part 4: Diva diving in

 I didn't get the name of this gorgeous singer. Pamela Johnson? Jackson? Not Pamela at all? in any case, she is serious old-school, digging deep into her songs. Towards the end of the show, when they brought her back on to close things out, we the audience had become kinda tired, and weren't responding the way the sponsors liked to see. The emcee had her repeat her number, not once but twice. On the third run-through, she took matters into her own hands. "Everyone stand up now," she told us, and once we were on our feet, we responded all right, dancing in place, swaying arms overhead (some of us), looking like a live crowd come yet more alive, thanks to her music. I loved this one.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Verses and Flow 2015 by Lexus, part 3: Things I Can't Say

The warm-up emcee knew his crowd. Think about it:  you've pulled together a group of hip urban black people with enough money to be interesting to Lexus. They are out to have a good evening with friends, not necessarily to perform as a studio audience. The warm-up emcee has to gather them as a group into a group, get them having enough fun as a group to relinquish the people they came with. They've already been seated by prettiness or interestingness, cautioned about keeping purses off the very shiny tables. He starts off by miming how tacky it looks to be on TV caught chewing gum. Then he engages some of the more resistant (that is, not attending to him) audience members by the reliable insult-method. Hey man, what's all that? Blazer on top, Air Jordans on the bottom? You don't look comfortable, you just look confused. Then he starts his routine. The crowd loved it a lot. I kept thinking Damn, that's funny, but I could never say it. I mean, I'm a white woman just past middle age. I could not, would not even think of saying Lexus is a good car--faster than a runaway slave! I tried that one on for size, to see if my quoting it here would be racist. My method for doing that is to reconfigure the remark for Jewish people, my people. In this instance:  how would I feel if someone said, "That car is faster than a Jew escaping Dachau." Ya know, I would be fine with it. I would say, "That is one fast car." I hope I am right, because I am going to publish this post--now.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Verses and Flow 2015, by Lexus: Pernickety work

Behind the Siren sound stage in Hollywood sits an unobtrusive trailer, sort of a truncated Aerostar with the sort of perforated metal steps you might associate with sneaking into a factory. The Aerostar houses the crew and equipment that produce the show. Last year the atmosphere was funky, like the saggy sofa over against a wall. (How did they ever get that thing through the doorway?) This year it is sleek and cool, like the efficient climate control that keeps crew and equipment from overheating while they scan every one of those screens in real time. Andrew-do-not-call-me-Andy explains that he has to choose views of performer and audience that convey the flow and mood of the performance and the audience's response, and set them in packages four to six minutes long, to allow for station ID and other FCC requirements. It is not simple to manage the mood and the length and the coherence all at once. Sometimes he gets it by shaving fractions of seconds from different shots. I commented that this sounded like pernickety work. Yes, it is! That is exactly the word I've been looking for! My cousin-escort informs me sardonically that the crew will not thank me, because now they will be hearing this word all day and night. Yes, but getting the right word is worth it. I take one red M&M from the hygienic plastic cup on the console.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Verses and Flow 2015, sponsored by Lexus, part 1

Ya gotta hand it to Lexus for sponsoring this performance series. This is the fifth season that they have presented half-hour shows of performance poets who know who they are and where they are from. The crowd trends under 40, black, and friendly. Thank you, Delvis, for offering me your seat when my heels overcame me, and for offering to get me a drink. It was another exhilarating event. Once again, the color was violet.

Poetry is alive and well and rocking at the Siren!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Not a good time, folks

I know I haven't posted anything new for a while. I haven't been writing, or noticing, much of anything. Our beloved cat Betty, lower pic, died last month of kidney failure. She was 17. She died in my arms, and I cried and cried. A month later, we acquired Freddie, first pic, an adorable 11-month-old tom, playful, affectionate, and smart. He is the only cat I've ever had who found his own toys, such as a shoelace and one of the smaller plush toys we keep for our grandson. We took him to the veterinarian today and learned that he has a horrible immune disorder, and that he will not be with us for very long. I can't do anything for him, and it is breaking my heart. Two cats gone in two months.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

On a non-writing topic, check out the Mar Vista Garden Showcase tour!

Just fyi, my son and daughter-in-law are included in the classy and ecologically savvy Mar Vista Garden Showcase. Fiona designed the yard, and Ted did a lot of the digging and planting. Their gardeners cleared out the horrible crabgrass and installed irrigation. Fiona cleverly chose plants that chime beautifully with the lavender-gray house paint. The house should have been designated a fixer-upper when they bought it, and they have been applying sweat-equity and thought to fix it up ever since.

This seems to be the only photo I have that shows their yard (albeit backyard). You can see where my interests are fixed, namely, on my grandson, sez his Nana.