Saturday, August 28, 2010

Squeal At Your Own Risk

Oscar Noir: Week Fourteen
Kiss of Death
Monday, August 23, 2010

Liz and I arrived later than usual, but we were still able to get our usual seats.  We ended up behind the lady from last week that I didn't like very much, but the only annoying thing she did was look for their other friend for the first half hour of the evening.  Liz and I have pretty much decided who Randy is pointing out when he talks about various offenses done in the theater, like snoring...and fighting outside...and saving seats for a lot of people.

We were shown slides of Helen K. Garber's "Urban Noir LA/NY" (2009), which was black/white photos of L.A. and New York City, interspersed with quotes from pulp fiction novels.  I think that I need to read some stuff by Michael Connelly, because I liked his quotes the best.  I especially liked the photographs of L.A., of course, which can be seen on Ms. Garber's website.

The Academy is celebrating the 30th anniversary of The Samuel Goldwyn Theater, so this week and next week's shorts will be dedicated to the opening of the theater.  The president of the Academy at the time, Walter Mirisch, did a short discussion with host Randy, and talked about raising the funds for the theater.  It was actually an interesting discussion, as Mr. Mirisch pretty much would tell someone, "Remember how I supported you for {whatever}?  I'm here to see you to ask for a million dollars for the new Academy headquarters."  Since the Beverly Hills mayor's wife was an Academy member at the time,they also made a deal with the City of Beverly Hills in order to have the neighboring buildings provide free parking to Academy events after regular business hours.  This agreement is to last for the entire tenure of the building.  Wow, the power.

Short:  "Academy Building at 8949 Wilshire Dedication Introduction" (1975)
This had an introduction by Mr. Mirisch, and a tour of the projection room and theater led by Charlton Heston.  It amused many of us when he talked about leaving room for the upcoming technology of 3-D, if that ever happens to become popular. ;)

Cartoon:  "Duck Pimples" (1945)
Yay, Donald Duck!  What is it with the ducks and their connection to Noir,anyway?  Donald's imagination runs wild in this one, due to reading too many mystery books.

Feature:  "Kiss of Death" (1947), screenplay by Ben Hecht and Charles Lederer, story by Eleazar Lipsky, directed by Henry Hathaway, music by David Buttolph, and starring Victor Mature, Brian Donlevy, Coleen Gray, Richard Widmark, Taylor Holmes, and Robert Keith
  • The film was introduced by Eric Roth, screenwriter for "Forrest Gump", "The Insider", "Munich", and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". 
  • Richard Widmark, in his first film, based his character on The Joker from Batman comics.  I wonder if the actors who played The Joker based their characters on this one.  He was creeeeepy.  Great performance, but now I'm scared of him.
  • I really liked  Victor Mature's performance as he played the reluctant stool pigeon.  He did a great job in his portrayal as a loving father, a robber, a caring husband, too.  He displayed quite a range in this one part, and it is quite a shame that Widmark's performance got so much more attention.  It seems that everyone agrees that this was Mature's best work.
  • I agree with Liz:  so the kids' former nanny (Nettie) goes to Bianco in prison shortly after he finds out that his wife killed herself.  She later says that she always had a crush on him, and subsequently marries him.  Girl, did you go to the prison to pick up the pieces after his wife's suicide?  That's bold and kinda trampy.  You wouldn't think that she was trampy, though, when you see that even as husband and wife, they didn't share a bed. ;)  Yes, I know that this was due to motion picture ratings.
  • Karl Malden got applause when he was first shown on the screen.  Did he ever not play some kind of cop? ;)
  • I liked Brian Donley as the Assistant D.A.  He had compassion for a fellow father (and used it to manipulate Bianco to play the informant for him), but didn't always get a conviction on his suspect. 
  • The film was filmed on location in New York.  It says so right there on the screen a the beginning of the film.
  • I loved the moment toward the end when Bianco is confronting Udo, and the music goes silent.  There is just so much tension in the moment when they look at each other, and I was squirming, wondering what was going to happen next.
  • I'm glad they used this ending shown instead of the original one.
  • Coleen Gray, who played Nettie, was in the audience and did a Q&A with Randy.  She said that she turned down Mature when he hit on her, as she was a married woman.  He thereafter called her "Old Mother Hubbard".  She said that her experience on location at Sing Sing led her to do some volunteer work with prisoners, which she does to this day.  I liked hearing her discuss pretty much everything, especially when she talked about reading "Nightmare Alley" and deciding that she was born to play Molly.  She talked about what it was like to meet and work with her childhood crush, Tyrone Power, and said that she could barely say anything to him because she was in such awe.  Her discussion was just simply a delight.  
Great film, great evening.

Next Noir: "White Heat"

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Kiss Me Deadly

Oscar Noir: Week Thirteen
A Double Life
Monday, August 16, 2010

We had a lot of traffic in Beverly Hills today, due to President Obama being in town for a fundraising dinner.  Liz, Linda and I still made it in time, although Linda had to park hella far.  They were nice enough to postpone the beginning of the show for the latecomers.  One of the women in front of me irritated me with her bitchiness toward her friend and toward the reason for the traffic.  I don't know how her friend puts up with her, but I guess that's true friendship.  I was originally going to be unavailable for this showing, but thank goodness I was able to shift the schedule around, because I certainly didn't want to miss the last installment of Captain Marvel or miss seeing the person introducing the feature film.

In order to stall for time, we watched "So You Want To Be A Detective" (1948), which will also be showing at the encore presentation of "The Maltese Falcon".   This short stars George O'Hanlon as Joe McDoakes, who daydreams about being a detective on a murder case.  It was kind of reminiscent of the Daffy Duck cartoon from a couple of weeks ago.

Short:  "Adventures of Captain Marvel, Chapter Twelve: Captain Marvel's Secret" (1941)
The Scorpion sees Billy turn into Captain Marvel, and kidnaps everybody.  He threatens Billy to transform or he'll kill Betty with the special Scorpion lenses, now all in his possession.  The Scorpion is unmasked to be the board member whose butler tried to prevent the lens from being stolen.  Billy turns into Captain Marvel and saves Betty, and the Scorpion is killed by his own weapon.  Then the scorpion lens contraption is thrown into the lava. As soon as this is done, Captain Marvel transforms back to Billy, as the scorpion no longer needs to be guarded.  That was a fun series to watch, especially all of the old-fashioned special effects, like the doll flying through the air.  I practically giggled every time the words "white infidel" were used.  The people saying that seemed to have the same complexion as the ones they were criticizing.  The family of Billy's portrayer, Frank Coghlan, Jr., was in the audience tonight, as was Louise Currie, of course.

Cartoon:  "Bad Luck Blackie" (1949)
In this cartoon, a bulldog is tormenting a kitten, so a black cat offers to help out the kitten by crossing the dog's path whenever the kitten blows a whistle, so that stuff falls onto the dog's head.  I've seen this cartoon several times, and enjoy it every time.  I love that hoarse little snicker that the dog does, provided by Tex Avery himself.

Feature:  "A Double Life" (1948), screenplay by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin, directed by George Cukor, music by Miklos Rozsa, and starring Ronald Colman, Signe Hasso and Edmund O'Brien

  • The film was introduced by one of the screenwriters of my favorite movie, "Shakespeare in Love" -- Marc Norman.  I think he had to park somewhere near Linda in order to get to the theatre somewhat on time.  This was a good choice for an introduction, since the play is about an actor who portrays Shakespeare's Othello.

  • I read in the program:  "Hairstyles by Carmen Dirigo", and read it as "Carmen SanDiego".  Obsessed much, Sher? ;)

  • Former Academy President Fay Kanin plays a bit part as the actress whom is trying to get Othello's attention after he kills Desdemona.

  • Ronald Colman is excellent in his role as the actor who can't really separate his stage emotions from real life.  I guess it makes sense, then, that he won the Oscar for this role.

  • I might act like Othello, too, if I was playing the part for 2 years.

  • I don't think that I would agree to play Desdemona if my ex-husband was notorious for losing himself in his parts.  I don't care if he still loved me or not.

  • I think that I loved all of Brita's off-stage outfits.  Nice!

  • I did not like Brita's Desdemona wig, though.
  • Interesting to see Shelley Winters in her prime, and she has great lines as the dame that Anthony John encounters.
  • Hmmm...killing someone with a kiss.  Is that like killing someone with kindness?
  • "Put out the light...and then put out the light."  This is my favorite line from the play, and I freaked out a little bit when it was being said off-stage.  I wanted to yell, "DON'T DO IT!!!"  I don't think that I was the only one in the audience that wanted to yell that.
    I think I need to watch "Shakespeare in Love" again soon.  I was tempted to talk to Mr. Norman, but I didn't have my copy of the script with me, and I didn't know what to say to him without it.  Not that I would have used the words in the script or anything.

    Next Noir:  "Kiss of Death"

    Falling Through The Looking Glass

    DCI Finals
    Lucas Oil Stadium -- Indianapolis, IN
    Saturday, August 14, 2010

    This morning, I had some Concord Grape Jelly on my English Muffin.  I figured that I would just make it a Concord Blue Devils day, since I'd be wearing my new BD tank top, and they were still at the top of the standings.  Their "B" corps won Open Class Finals in the morning.  Congrats, BDB!

    Revolution Horns
    Bro and I were both still tired from the previous evening, and since SCV Cadets didn't go to Indy this year, we decided to stay in the hotel room and rest.  Bro heard something outside and realized that a horn line was warming up in the parking lot across the street from the hotel.  It just happened to be the line from the same corps that was warming up outside his house in Tempe!  Weird.  Revolution is stalking my brother.  Normal people don't mute everything inside just so that they can hear a horn line tune outside, do they?  Because I don't think that what we were doing was normal.  We just love hearing the sounds of drum corps, whether they're in our face or outside across the street.  I totally wanted to open the window so that we could hear them better, but we were on the 6th floor and the window wouldn't open.  No, we were not going to go outside in the heat and listen when we could hear just fine from inside.  They played "Simple Gifts" and it made us happy. :)

    D'Saints at BWW
    Once lunch time came around, we went back to Buffalo Wild Wings and our server Veronica recognized us and told the hostess to sit us at her station.  We were happy to see her, and I enjoyed my Loaded Peach Iced Tea very much.  I just had to order that Salt & Vinegar rub, and Bro ordered a Chipotle rub.  We figured that we would be sitting in a section that was not at the same level as my elusive sweet potato fries, and would save $ if we brought our own dinner to the stadium, so we ordered more wings to go.  We actually ended up leaving them in our hotel room because we were still really full from lunch.

    We went on a "Backstage" tour of Lucas Oil Stadium, to see where the corps gets ready for competition, and see the entrances for the pit and the corps proper.  We walked through the actual tunnel that the corps go through, and the guide let us have some time on the field to take pictures.  In addition to field pictures, we could get up close to the DCI trophy and take pictures there, too.  Bro said that next year, he's bringing a football for us to throw on the field.  I just had to bend down and touch the turf.  I thought about how overwhelming it must be for the corps members to be in such a huge stadium, and said to Bro that I'd be the one distracted by the jumbotron, trying to look at my friends instead of actually performing.  Perhaps, though, knowing how focused I was in Drill Team, I would have paid attention to my drum major after all.  The USMC Drum & Bugle Corps was rehearsing in the end zone seats while we were there, and played a little bit for us, which was nice.  After the tour, we went to the Marketplace for a bit, and I saw that SCV had a tank top on sale.  Um, where was that yesterday when I wanted to buy something to wear today?  Whatever.  It would now be my top for the flight home.
    Bro at Centerfield

    Straws = Happiness
    We checked out all of the concessions, and decided to get a drink before the show.  If you recall last year's blog entries, Bro and I had been annoyed that they didn't give out straws or lids for the  drinks, and took off the caps from the water bottles, all because they didn't want people throwing stuff at the teams.  Bro and I had a plan this year.  BWW Veronica had given us straws to take home with our drinks yesterday.  I also took straws from today's lunch.  So there we were, the two of us, sharing a drink with the straws that we brought.  Yeah, we're insane.  We did have one extra in case a nice person asked about them, but nobody said anything to us.  They might have said something while we were in the restrooms, but nothing.  I wonder how many people got our idea and will utilize it next year, though.  I'm still planning on bringing a box of straws next year.  I totally forgot this time.  Bro had to remind me about the mustard dispenser the other day.  We both forgot about needing our own bottle caps.  

    Bro and I were happier today because we would actually get to have our Bro/Sis DCI bonding time during Finals Week.  Yeah, we've been talking about stuff before/after the shows, but it's not the same as sitting together.  With all the drama of the evening, it turned out to be a good thing, because otherwise my thumbs would have hurt from all of the texting.  Our seats were on the right 45-yard line, 6 rows down from the very top.  The couple that sat by Bro were parents of a contra player in BD, whose name was Dwight.  His friend, a euphonium player, was named Omar, so I promised to cheer for them.  APPARENTLY, Dwight used to be in the Boston Crusaders, whose style is military, and BD is more laid back and professional.  Dwight's dad agreed with me that "it's all about the swagger."  Dwight wants to stick with BD, and I don't blame him, G7 or not.

    The show opened with the United States Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps, "The Commandant's Own".  Their cadence sounds like our alma mater's, so we especially like it.

    Part I:  Tour of Duty, Mozart Sonata, Grace
    Part II:  Hair, That's Life, Stars and Stripes Forever

    They have a nice, full sound for just 47 horns (one was missing).  I liked the percussion feature in the Mozart.  Can you believe that the Marines played stuff from "Hair"?  Can you believe that they actually SANG "Let the Sunshine In"?  Well, it happened.  It was awesome.  Great soprano solo for the Sinatra piece, although I wondered why one of the people in the duet didn't have the same hat as the others.  Maybe she was still a cadet, I don't know.  I didn't care for their announcer, though.  He was just...not Brandt Cocker.  Bro decided that it would be cool to be a Commandant and have your own Drum & Bugle Corps.  Yeah, you could just have 12 groups come in and compete and stuff at your whim.  I, however, would be Emperor/Empress in order to not have to deal with elections. :)

    The Star-Spangled Banner was played by the USMC while we sang along.  There's just something about that experience that makes me even more patriotic than usual.  I love singing that with them, especially when people around me are in tune, and even sing in harmony.  The Corps then marched off the field while playing The Marine Corps Hymn, and I said, "Ooh-rah!"  He asked if I was actually aloud to say that.  I said yes, because I have a jacket.  So that's all settled now.

    The Volunteers of the Year were announced.  They were volunteers for Blue Stars, Phregiment, and 2 from Racine Scouts.  At this point, somebody a few rows in front of us took off his shirt to change it.  This couldn't be done in the restroom?  No, he did not have a nice body.  Perhaps that's why I would have preferred that he did that in the restroom, away from my eyes.

    The Director of the Year was announced:  Dan Petersen of the Madison Scouts.  They then played a tourism bureau video for Michigan City, Indiana, where the Open Class Quarterfinals were held.  I remember seeing this last year.

    We were then treated to a performance by the 2010 Open Class Champions, Blue Devils B.
    Repertoire:  "Space" with music by Amin Bhatia, Eric Whitacre, Imgoen Heap, and John M. Meehan.  That was a cool show, using the BD "A" corps "Space" sound from their 2003 show, "The Phenomenon of Cool".  
    Blue Devils B

    We took a break and didn't listen to the Sponsor Recognition.  Then the real show started.

    I can't see the guy with the Union Jack flag from way up in our seats.  Bro said that he was part of the staff, so he was up in front.  I like those pink swirly flags.  I have earrings like that symbol.  Why is there recorded singing?!  I didn't get sleepy this time, but Bro did.  The one that had a long nap.  What is that woman doing, standing on TOP of the multi-tenor drums?  Wow.  I didn't see that cross with the sheer flag and the horn in the middle before.  This is what happens when I watch while sleepy.  They only had 4 bass drums.  Bro wondered if someone was missing.

    B K
    WHY are you dropping your rifles on Finals night?!  Bro likes the Farandole, and asked if I ever played that with the orchestra.  I told him that nobody plays violin for 9 years without playing Farandole.  I like the Elgar, as I mentioned before, so we both really like this show.  I'll probably play this year's CD a lot, especially this show.

    OK, Mr. Cocker did not use the term "Explorer" yesterday, did he?  At least, I didn't hear him say it.  The crowd goes so wild when Madison enters the field that I may have missed that.  Bro told me to watch the very muscular and shirtless Japanese guy.  (Him, I'll watch).  DAYUM!  He has some serious upper body strength, grabbing onto one of the poles from their stands, and doing a horizontal lift.  My goodness gracious.  Bro told me that they have their old-school "M"s on their snare drums.  Neato.  I saw their helicopter move today.  APPARENTLY, it's very cool from where Bro was sitting yesterday, because they throw him up high.  I like when they throw the rifle from their stand, jump over the cymbal player , then catch the rifle.  They jump from those stands a lot.  Afterward, the DM threw his hat into the stands.  Or maybe just at the staff.  I couldn't see where it actually went.

    B CRU
    The dude sitting directly in front of me is tall, so I wasn't able to see my chair the throne.  I had to watch the monitor a lot.  During the quiet rest after the Rachmaninoff, we could hear the Blue Stars yell from either inside the tunnel or outside.  Wherever.  It shouldn't be audible on the CD, but we heard it.

    Bro says that the curtain that they put up over one of the end zones really helps with the acoustics.  Yeah, but then we don't get to see the cool horseshoe seats.

    Bro said to me, "Knock, Knock".  I didn't hear him at first.  Then I said, "Who's There?"  "Houdini".  Yes, I knew what was happening mid-way, but decided to annoy him by feigning ignorance.  I think it worked.

    The lady behind me thought that the boxes were coffins.  There are no vampires in the show, Lady.  That was last year, and not even this corps. Get with it!  ;)  I like how they're leaning back while kneeling as the guy gets into the box.  The judge should just sit on that chair.  Perhaps he should have sat on B Cru's throne, too.

    Wow, they had a LOT of green feathers.  That did not make Bro happy, since that meant that a lot of people aged out this year.  At least the DMs still had red plumes.  Unless I just couldn't see the green feather in their massive plumes. (Go, Christopher!)  People could not contain themselves from yelling at the beginning, and their show starts very quietly.  Aw, somebody fell down!  Bummer.  Dude, she jumps on the plates at the end, before her tumble!  That's awesome.  Bro wondered where their 5th bass drum was.  


    Go, Christopher's Girlfriend!  They open the show with all of the CG laying on their backs, so I explained that it starts off with them being dead.  Then later they go into the light.  But wait, it's the corps that goes into the light.  I don't know.  I like the dissonant chords during the big block.  I like that the soloist (Spirit Guide) is part of the Chevron.  My interpretation of the show:  "Eat a nectarine, go to heaven."

    Opps.  Geoffrey (I guess his name is supposed to be spelled like the Toys R Us giraffe) dropped the rifle when he wasn't supposed to do so.  At that point, the corps forms an arrow toward Geoffrey so that we pay attention to him.  Perhaps they shouldn't have this time.  Go, drums, go!  The dude behind me, after they performed the drum feature, exclaimed, "Good Lord!"  Bro asked me if they have a 5th bass drum.  I decided that Bro has become obsessed with the number of bass drums.  I heard the "Right/Left/Right/Left/Right" over the speakers this time.  UNNECESSARY.

    The marimbas were amped too high, so the balance was off to me.  There were some interesting positions, like one of the horn players was playing while doing a hand stand.  At least I think they were playing.  Bro's theory about Peter Pan saving the gal at the end:  This was actually Peter's second chance, because he didn't get to keep the girl in last year's "The Grass is Always Greener" show.  Oh, wow, Bro.  Seriously, I think he's totally right.  According to a blog by one of the corps members, they added a new ending before the Westchester show.  Here's his comment:  "Let's just say it didn't take much effort for me to learn the cymbal work since it was all too familiar."  My bro is the smartest brother EVER. 

    Drama:  One of the horn players fell down as they were running to form the company front, and then he had trouble getting up. He kept trying, to the point that he was pretty much crawling to join the rest of the corps.  The drum judge went to help him a little bit and then members of the staff ran to him to pull him off of the field.  I was reading about this the next day, and it turns out that the point that he fell was fortuitous because, had he been in the middle of the field, or in the middle of the show, many more injuries would have happened like a train wreck.  Thank God nobody ran into him.  It also turns out that a Crown bus driver, while trying to help get the guy off the field, ended up breaking his own leg in the process.  The crowd hardly noticed the end of the show because everyone was so concerned for the kid.  He ended up having a tibia fracture, probably as a result of some earlier injuries that hadn't healed enough yet.  May you heal quickly from your surgery, Ryan B.  And to bus driver Stan, may you heal quickly, too. (He broke his right tibia).

    I like how the drummers are marking time side-to-side during the tenor/pit feature.  Did someone fall down on purpose?  If not, they recovered really well.  What was up with the falling down tonight?!  That's a kick-ass show.  Love it.

    At the start of their show, everyone is in different positions, doing different things.  I pointed to one and told Bro, "That one's confused and thinks he's in SCV."  He appeared to be in Bottledance position.  Their chant is part of the US Marine Corps' Rifle Creed:  "This is my rifle.  There are many like it, but this one is mine.  My rifle is my best friend.  It is my life."  That second evil laugh is unnecessary.  Dayum, Sopranos!  Masks are creepy.  The crowd went so crazy after Smile that Dwight's dad thought the show was already done.  That is a lot of dang pirouettes in a row.  That dude broke his rifle at the end.  Did he always do that, or is this a Finals thing?  Is BD now going to break all of their mirrors?  Bro wants to see that, but there's already been enough bad luck here tonight.

    B D
    Go, Wesley!  Go, Dwight! Go, Omar!  (Bro said I did a good job.  I may not be loud, but at least I keep my promises).  I like when they're all in a line, jumping between the mirrors.  I just don't like when the mirrors are behind each other and you can see them being moved by the corps members.  I love that bit at the end: it reminds me of the actual twist in the movie "Laura".  I wonder if the director showed the movie to the corps.  Bro said that was the best he's ever seen them.  I honestly don't know how people don't get how amazing this show is, because it's really, really good.

    FINALE darkness and smoke this year.  Perhaps they read my blog from last year.  I'm not sure whether or not that would be a good thing.  SCV *does* have 5 bass drums!  There must have been an injury.  I guess there were a lot of bass drum injuries this year, according to what I read in the online forums.  OK, Bro, you're not obsessed with the bass drums.

    Finale: Top 12 Corps
    Blue Devils' DM led all of the corps in playing The Battle Hymn of the Republic.  It was very well done.  They then showed a video, which the SCV and Cadets corps members did not watch, but all of the other corps did.  SCV's CG watched, though, so I told Bro that they're going to be in trouble.  

    Yay!  BCru brought their throne to the finale!  My wish came true!


    Fan Choice:  Carolina Crown -- that's two in a row that Peter Pan gets.  Congrats, Petah!

    12) 85.80 -- Glassmen

    Leadership Award:  Drum Major for the Madison Explorer Scouts

    11) 87.10 -- Blue Knights

    10)  88.95 -- Madison Explorer Scouts

    Color Guard:  Blue Devils (well, I should hope so, getting perfect scores every night!)

    9)  89.35 -- Boston Crusaders

    Visual:  Blue Devils

    8)  91.90 -- Blue Stars

    Brass:  Blue Devils

    7) 92.00 -- Santa Clara Vanguard

    Percussion: Phantom Regiment

    6)  93.15 -- Phantom Regiment

    General Effect:  Blue Devils

    5) 95.10 -- Cadets

    4) 95.95 -- Carolina Crown

    3) 96.40 -- Bluecoats (their CG just died during the salute) -- 1st time ever in the top 3

    2) 97.75 -- Cavaliers

    1) 98.90 -- Blue Devils (That's championship #14.)

    Hmmmm...all of the G7 are in the top 7.  Conspiracy?  ;)

    The Blue Devils remain undefeated since June 2009.  They have been PISSED since "Spartacus".  (giggle)

    ENCORE -- Blue Devils
    It would be cool if they could do their show without the mirrors.

    The CG warmed up behind the mirrors instead of watching the corps while they played.  WHAT is up with that?!

    F-Tuning (my favorite reason for BD to win)
    Eternal Father, Strong to Save (the Navy hymn, and my personal favorite -- sigh!)
    Seven-Fold Amen
    Through a Glass, Darkly

    Mirrors with Faces
    Congratulations, Blue Devils!  West is Best.  AGAIN.  :)

    Bro and I went back to the hotel and ate our BWW before going to sleep.  I laughed at the lewd lamp in our room, because the switch that you push is in a place that's just below where the lamp's "waist" would be, if you know what I mean.  In the morning, we rode the shuttle to the airport and parted ways.  I ended up taking an earlier flight because they needed volunteers when my flight was overbooked. So I hung out in the Vegas airport for awhile. We were delayed a few minutes,so my luggage was actually at LAX a few minutes before I arrived.  I had trouble finding my car in the parking lot when I got back to LA because I was stupid and thought that I didn't write down the number of my parking space when I arrived on Wednesday.  It turns out that I had typed it into my phone, which I didn't discover until 3 days later.  DUH!!!

    You know what sucks about Finals?  It means that Drum Corps Season is over.  Sigh.  Until next summer, everyone.
    The Famous Shoes on Lucas Oil Field

    PC, I Heart You!

    I'm interrupting the Finals Posts in order to share this video with y'all.

    Pacific Crest, a corps that I regularly support, had a performance in Rome, NY this summer, and this person couldn't make it there. So here they are, playing their corps anthem at the DCI fan's home.

    Here is the link to a post on Drum Corps Planet with the story behind it.

    Gosh, I love drum corps. Yes, I'm crying. Shut up. ;)

    Friday, August 13, 2010

    Star-Studded Semis

    DCI Semifinals
    Lucas Oil Stadium -- Indianapolis, IN
    Friday, August 13, 2010

    Wine Station
    After getting breakfast from downstairs, we rested for a while as I typed my Quarterfinals review.  We then went to lunch at Tastings -- A Wine Experience.  You can purchase a card for whatever amount of wine you want to get, and then can try as many wines as you'd like with your card, based on the price of the wine.  So you would get 2 oz of whatever.  I had 3 wines, and Bro had 4 in order to use up the card.  Unfortunately, his 4th wine bottle had run out so he didn't get the full 2 oz, and the card wasn't charged the full rate either.  The trouble is that we then had a balance on the card for less than any of the other bottles available.  Oh well.  He had a Filet Mignon Pizza, and I had a prosciutto-wrapped pesto shrimp plate.  Both dishes were very good.  I enjoyed my wines, and plan on purchasing a couple of them when I get home:  a St. Supery Moscato from Napa, and a Villa Maria "Cellar Selection" Sauvignon Blanc.from New Zealand.

    We had a lot of time before the show, so we rested for a couple of hours in the hotel room.  It's hot and humid outside, the warmest in Indy in several years.  Luckily for us, we don't mind walking to get lunch for ourselves.  We made our way to the stadium and checked out the historical Drum Corps stuff for, like, 3 minutes, then separated to go to our seats.

    If you recall yesterday's post, Bro's seat for this show was in the first row.  My seat was in the top section, 9 rows down from the very top.  I was sitting in the Blue Devils block, but the people in front of me were fans of Madison Scouts.  The couple next to me was wearing BD stuff, though.  

    The Star-Spangled Banner was performed by Star United, and they did a nice job.  I liked those closing dark chords.

    Corpss marked with a * advance to Finals.

    CROSSMEN -- 80.90
    OK, I can see a LOT more circles from up here.  Nice sound, mello must have had a mic for his solo, because there's no way he's naturally that loud.  Bro, though, said that they wouldn't have allowed a mic on the field, so I don't know.  I like this show.  Visually, it's very nice with all of the circles.

    X-Men Circles

    SPIRIT -- 81.45
    The thing about being in the terrace level where I sat is that I get speakers above me, and I get to hear all of the amplified stuff.  I do not like the amplified stuff.  I had to hear machine sounds and some robot-like voice saying "Forging.  Icon.  Forging. Icon."  Dislike.  I understand the show now, though, with them forming their Delta icon.  I did see a lot of delta formations.  Bro texted me to tell me that the whole pit was crying after the show.  I teared up a little bit just thinking about the emotion they must have been feeling during their last show of the season.

    TROOPERS -- 83.35
    Why are all the soloists flat?  Did they tune to something weird, or were they all just nervous?  I didn't notice before that the CG gal in navy blue gets chased and caught by the other guard members.  Then she's the one that actually arrests the DM.  That doesn't make me really understand the plot line better, though.

    ACADEMY -- 84.05
    Bro texted to tell me that the cymbal player in the pit was crying before the show even started.  So guess what happened to Sherry?  Yup, I was on the verge of tears for the whole show.  Never mind that the show was absolutely GORGEOUS tonight, musically.  It's also visually beautiful, except for, as Bro says, the gold hats.  I like the kind of way that they marched and looked like a moving ocean wave.  I would probably be a mess if I sat up front and saw people's last shows.  I texted Rudy to tell him that I thought he would have cried had he seen their show tonight.  He immediately went into withdrawals, and went to look for his Phregiment DVD.  Thank you for a great show and a great year, Academy!

    COLTS -- 84.65
    A Touch of Blue
    They always drop their green things from their uniforms onto the field.  I really like that soprano duet during True Colors.  The guy that gets his cymbal stolen is busy spinning his plate on his finger during the robbery.

    GLASSMEN -- 86.50*
    Why do they always make me sleepy?  Is it the timing of their show against my biorhythm?  It's weirdly consistent every year.  It's a pretty show, but I couldn't see a lot of stuff because of the tall man that sat in front of me.

    BLUE KNIGHTS -- 87.85*
    I really like the music in this show.  Nice solos during the Shostakovich.  I really like whatever they're playing during the hand painted flags.  Later, I realized that it was the Elgar Nimrod.  More on this later.

    MADISON SCOUTS -- 89.20*
    The row of Scouts fans in front of me got very excited.  What a great, fun show!  Bro said that one of the guys doing the acrobatics is just crazy.  I like the physicality of the all-male corps, because their color guards always do cool things.

    BOSTON CRUSADERS -- 89.60*
    I like how they sideways jump with each blast.  Cool effect.  I also like the way that they play the Rachmaninoff.  I like that Paganini theme anyway, so it's just a plus for me when somebody plays it that well.

    I got in a line for crappy food because I was too lazy to wander around to find something better and stand in another line.  When I got back to my seat, there was a family of a BD trumpeter sitting to the right of me.  The people that had been sitting to the left of me never returned.  I don't know what was up with that, since they were clearly BD fans.

    BLUE STARS -- 92.05*
    I like that opening blast!  I saw the guy get in the box this time.  I also saw him get out.  Oh, they have padlock flags, too.  I like the music while they have their key props, probably because SCV has done it before.

    SCV -- 92.45*
    Gosh, I love the tension in their music.  The audience seemed to appreciate it more than other audiences.  Go Big Red!  Isn't this question mark cool?  I just noticed it tonight.

    I've decided that guys wear hats to the indoor shows only in order to get in my camera view while they talk to their girlfriends during a show.  Seriously, dude?  Stop it!  He got kicked out of his seat anyway when the Scouts fans came back.

    PHREGIMENT -- 92.95*
    Oh, look!  An angel came out of the tunnel at the end!  I didn't notice that yesterday, but Bro said that it happened.  Beautiful show.   I thought their drums were really good, especially because they won last night, but Bro said that they were not so good from his vantage point.  Interesting.

    Nectarine Flags
    CADETS -- 94.85*
    I think I saw a wind-up key in one of the really quick formations.  Someone dropped their rifle.  I'm not used to seeing Cadets CG do that.  I like the show even more when I'm not watching Little Jeffrey do stuff.  Bro said that everyone was annoyed by his over-exaggeration from the front of the stands.

    CROWN -- 95.35*
    I like that Elgar piece.  I know I heard it today already (Blue Knights), and it's beautiful, especially the way Crown plays it.  Just plain gorgeous music.  I don't remember those shiny flags at the end, though.  Hey -- that CG gal gets hit by the guy's rifle, then gets on the horn player's shoulders to get to the other side of the field.  No wonder she gets slapped around: she's fickle, and everybody sees it.

    BLOO -- 96.50*
    Yesterday's photo only had half the snares.  Go, Nathan!
    I would root more for them if they got rid of the amplification:  there's recorded singing, recorded cello, and, I think, recorded oboe and other crap.  Their show is too good for that stuff.  They brought it big tonight, though.  

    CAVALIERS -- 97.25*
    Pre-Show Cavalier
    "It's a mad world..." followed by scary laughter.  They're chanting whatever is being said before the show.  Something like "It's my life..."  I really like this show with all of its darkness.  It just kicks ass because of its Cavie-ness anyway, but the dark just makes it cooler.  Bro was not as scared of the CG as he was yesterday, because up close, he sees that they're just guys with costumes and make-up.  Don't ask me why he couldn't think that last night.

    BD -- 98.05*
    Wow -- I get even more confused with the mirrors from up high.  I understood the DM-going-through-one-mirror-and-coming-out-of-the-other-one thing tonight.  When they shake the mirrors, there is a sound of glass breaking.  I just don't think that you should be breaking mirrors on Friday the 13th.  Even the fake kind.

    2010 DCI Hall of Fame inductees were announced:
    Raymond Baumgardt of the Madison Scouts
    Brandt Cocker of Announcer Extraordinaire fame
    Robert W. Smith, the first composer to write an entire piece exclusively for a drum corps show
    They also had a memorial segment for George Bonfiglio of the 27th Lancers, one of the founding members of DCI.

    We then heard/saw 3 of the acts that won the Individual & Ensemble competition between scholarship winner announcements.  The age-outs were seated at the end zone, and they were restless, and doing the wave.  The coolest part of it, though, was when they did a slo-mo wave.  Nobody can do that better than drum corps people, and it was AWESOME!  I exclaimed a guttural "Yeahhhhh!"  

    The Star of Indiana Alumni Corps then performed some portions of their shows between different video segments about their history, which took place between 1985 and 1993.
    • When You Wish Upon A Star (1985)
    • Pines of Rome (1991)
    • E.T. (1986)
    • Fantasia on the Dark Side (1985)
    • American Variations (1992)
    • The Music of Barber and Bartok (1993)
    (Thanks to for the above info.)  

    Hey!  They had little mirrors!  I like their patriotic double flags. They had pictures of their shows on big panels behind the corps.  They were all dressed in pink with a star on the front, and a "10" on the back.  I didn't know that they used to wear pink.

    We didn't stay for the Age-Out ceremony, but I did hear Star of Indiana's drum line play their cadence while the A/Os walked onto the field.

    We walked back to the hotel and I bought some more nutritious crappy food from the hotel snack shop thing, and Bro and I compared our experiences.  He looks forward to another year when he can sit in front again.  I hope to do that someday, too.

    Next Up:  Finals