Saturday, July 31, 2010

Save the Clock Tower! ... At Your Own Risk

Oscar Noir: Week Ten
The Stranger
Monday, July 26, 2010

Liz was unable to meet me this time, so I was on my own again.  I was a little bit further back in line than in previous weeks, but was still able to get an aisle seat in the second row.

Short: "Adventures of Captain Marvel, Chapter Nine: Dead Man's Trap" (1941)
The force from the car explosion of last week's cliffhanger made the board member's car run off the road.  Billy came driving by and the goons captured both of them.  The board member was shocked to be brought to the house of The Scorpion (sssss!).  So that man's injured hand was some sort of decoy.  Billy was taken into the basement, where he was watched by one guy.  The Scorpion sent his goons to get the board member's lens after getting the combination through some kind of birdcage torture.  Billy turned into Captain Marvel when the guy left the room, and escaped.  The board member called Betty to get the lens before the other guys, and Captain Marvel tried to catch The Scorpion after he shot the board member, but was only able to get his hood before he got away.  He went to the board member's house to warn Betty of some kind of trap, but they didn't know exactly what it was.  Unbeknownst to them, as they were entering the combination on the safe, automatic rifles were being aimed at them as a security system.  The rifles fired as the episode ended.  Yikes!

Cartoon:  "The Cuckoo Clock" (1950)
This was another Tex Avery cartoon.  A cat is driven insane by the cuckoo bird in the clock, and, of course, the bird wins.  :)  The clock is a prelude to the evening's feature, wherein a clock is a prominent piece of the scenery.

Feature: "The Stranger" (1946), screenplay by Anthony Veiller (and John Huston), story by Victor Trivas, adaptation by Decla Dunning, directed by Orson Wells, starring Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young, Orson Wells, Philip Merivale, Richard Long and Billy House
  • The film was introduced by Ted Griffin, screenwriter for "Ocean's Eleven" and "Matchstick Men".  He was hilarious, stating that his juxtaposition beside the Oscar statue was probably the closest he'd ever get to one.  He said that this was one of the few movies where we'd see Orson Welles' real nose.  He talked about deleted scenes, saying he was glad that we didn't have to see the chase in South America, but that the last line of the movie may not make sense to us because the background exposition for Mary was deleted.
  • So that makes me wonder if Mary always had trouble with nightmares, or did they just start when Meinike arrived in town?
  • Billy House was quite humorous as Mr. Potter, always placing his visor on his head when someone agreed to play a game of checkers with him.
  • This is one of those films that makes you wonder if you really know the person you married.  So, was "The Stranger" alluding to Wilson, Meinike, or Rankin, or all 3 of them?
  • I loved the neighborhood's reaction to the clock's bell finally working, saying that they got a lot more sleep when it was broken.
  • OK, that angel and devil that moved around the clock face creeped me out.  I guess that was with good reason. ;)
  • Sara's way of preventing Mary from going to the church was very funny.
  • The sketching of the swastika while Rankin is on the phone: creepy but funny.
  • I was confused by the checkers games.  Either they weren't playing correctly, or they weren't playing fairly.
  • Poor doggie.
  • I love seeing Edward G. Robinson try to figure out stuff.
I did not stay to hear Robinson's grandchildren speak, but I did enjoy the movie.  It was quite the thriller.

Next up in the series:  "Body and Soul"

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pinch Me

After church this morning, I had some yummy dim sum at the new Chinese restaurant near my house, Capital Seafood.  We saw a neato-looking Almond Tea dessert that had a pastry on top of a mug of, I'm assuming, almond-flavored tea.

Cindy, Glenn and I then saw "Inception".

  • Um, WOW.
  • OK, I understand now why people are saying that I should go see this in IMAX.  The scenery, especially in Ariadne's dream, were amazing.
  • I need to find me a token.
  • As Leo DC said, "we need a forger", all I could think was, "YOU'RE the forger!  I saw it in "Catch Me If You Can"!
  • Why does Christopher Nolan insist on putting a bag over Cillian Murphy's head in his movies?  He has such a fine, chiseled face!
  • "I've always wanted to pretend to be an architect." -- Seinfeld's George Costanza.  I wonder what he would have thought about being *this* kind of architect?
  • Awesome score, Mr. Zimmer.
  • That van sure did take a long time to fall down.
  • Perhaps we should all go see "The Matrix" now to get even more confused.  There is no spoon (stolen from someone else's FB post).
  • Did the top fall over?  I think it does exactly what you want it to do. :)
Amazing.  I highly recommend it to y'all that like to think a little bit...or a lotta bit. ;)  Here's a site that might help y'all with your brain explosion.  Or not.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Bourbon Straight with a Bourbon Chaser

Oscar Noir: Week Nine
The Blue Dahlia
Monday, July 19, 2010

This week, I forgot my phone at home, so I had to keep on the lookout for Liz, so that she'd know that I was there.  She had parked behind me anyway, so she knew I was there.  I'm just glad that Linda responded to my email to let me know she wouldn't be there, so that I'd have one less person to find.  I arrived early and read my book.  When Liz and I got inside, she asked me to fill her in on the line drama, then looked around the room and couldn't believe that this group of people would do the things for which they had been accused.  

Cartoon:  "Donald's Crime" (1945)
Yay!  Donald Duck!  He stole from the nephews' piggy bank and went into a huge guilt trip about it.  He wanted to take Daisy out dancing.  So here's my question:  why doesn't Donald have shoes?  Daisy has shoes, so it can't be the webbed feet thing.  I'm trying to ignore the fact that he's not wearing any pants, because it must be difficult to find pants to go over the duck butt.  But why no shoes?

Short: "Adventures of Captain Marvel, Chapter Eight: Boomerang" (1941)
OK, last time I forgot the actual cliffhanger, because when they showed it again this week, I was like, "Oh, yeah!"  Liz said, "I'm so far behind!"  The actual cliffhanger from last week was that Billy and Betty were tied up (separately) in a shack, and it was about to be bombed.  Betty tried to radio Captain Marvel, but Billy was having trouble saying "Shazaam!" with the gag in his mouth.  He finally was able to do it, and got her out of there just as the bomb was about to drop.  She had been rendered unconscious by a falling beam, so she didn't see him change to Captain Marvel and back to Billy.  Betty remembered that she injured the Scorpion's right hand, and they thought of a plan to figure out which one of the board members was actually The Scorpion.  They had them all sign a contract, and one guy's hand was bandaged.  Billy went to that board member's house, and the Scorpion had his goons rig Whitey's car.  Stuff happened, though, and the other goons ended up driving Whitey's rigged car, and it blew up.  Our heroes are OK.  So it's not really a cliffhanger this week, just a close call.  Billy had been trapped in a garage with a car motor running, but he was able to get out as Captain Marvel.

Feature:  "The Blue Dahlia" (1946), screenplay by Raymond Chandler, directed by John Houseman, music by Victor Young, starring Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, William Bendix, Howard da Silva, Doris Dowling, Tom Powers, and Frank Faylen.
  • The film was introduced by Wesley Strick, screenwriter for "Arachnophobia" and "Cape Fear".
  • Strick listed a lot of words that have been associated with Noir in this series, and added one:  "Booze".  The title is actually the name of a nightclub.  The opening scene is of guys going to get a drink of Bourbon straight with a Bourbon chaser.  Raymond Chandler, on the wagon when he started writing the script, was only able to write and finish it while drinking and never got back on the wagon again.  Chandler didn't even know who would be the murderer when the movie started shooting, until he got to write from home and drink.  (They had to step up the filming because Alan Ladd was being called back to active duty with the Army Air Forces).  
  • I like how Strick said that was Hugh Beaumont "before he Left It to Beaver".
  • I totally would have had a crush on Alan Ladd if I was alive back in 1946.  Quite the handsome man he was!
  • The murderer was changed due to pressure from a certain branch of the government.  No wonder it didn't turn out the way that I thought it was leading.
  • Liz's favorite line had to do with flipping a coin:  "Heads we go to Malibu, tails we stay in (Santa Monica, I think).  "What if it ends up in the davenport?"  "Then we go to Long Beach."
  • My favorite line:  "Every guy's seen you before somewhere.  The trick is to find you."
  • "It's funny but practically all the people I know were strangers when I met them."
  • The "Dad" character creeped me out.  He sure did lurk a lot.
  • Alan Ladd's son was interviewed after the film, and said that his father and Veronica Lake never had any kind of friendship or relationship outside of the 7 movies they did together, which is probably why their chemistry was so good.
I think that I need to see more Ladd/Lake films.  Mostly for the Alan Ladd part. :)

Next up:  "The Stranger"

p.s.  With all of that talk about bourbon, now I want some ribs so I can have a shot of bourbon on the side. ;)

I've Always Wanted to Learn How to Play the Marimba

Western Corps Connection
Monday, July 5, 2010
Riverside Community College Wheelock Stadium

In the morning, we all talked about the fireworks that we saw the night before.  I liked hearing Brady talk about fireworks that looked like rain.   Miss O had fallen asleep, so I don't think she saw much.

We said our goodbyes to Auntie Milda, Allen and Allison, then Rudy and Jeff arrived and met Olivia and Rudy tickled Brady before we left for RCC.  

We found Bro's car and parked by him then took the long pathway over to the marketplace, where we met up with Bro and V.  I went all crazy and bought a smoothie in a pineapple, and Rudy was slyly able to avoid the very long line for the food he wanted.  We happily walked to our seats at the other side of the stadium, and I promptly spilled smoothie.  Oops.  It was just a little bit, but still...sticky.  Although their seats were not next to ours, Rudy and Jeff hung out with us until the actual ticketholders arrived.

The Star-Spangled Banner was performed by the Moreno Valley All-City Youth Band, and then they played some other selections.  
I wondered aloud:  
Sher:  Have the drummers played yet?
V:  (shaking head)  One of them yawned.
They finally played some Sousa march, which was probably Washington Post, during which the drummers actually played their instruments.


Repertoire:  "Necrology -- A Celebration of Life and Times" -- I.  Excitement; II.  Sadness; III.  Anger;  IV.  Fear, V. Celebration by G. P. Nash

The color guard was dressed in purple, with the females in tutus.  I like the double white sheer flags during the ballad.  At one point, the snare drummers were using their hands instead of their sticks.  


Repertoire:  "Over Under" -- Selections from The Who's Rock Opera "Tommy"

Oh!  Big Balls!  The corps kind of look like cops, while the CG had strips of color in their hems.  They just need to not roll on those balls, because they get out of control.  V said, "I'm not really a fan of exercise class."  Pretty good sound, though.

INCOGNITO was absent again.


They had some intonation issues during "America the Beautiful".  Overall great sound, though.  I like the bow and arrow move done by the horns.  I don't remember the rain sticks from the other night.  The drumline played their cadence as they marched off of the track.  I like that.


Repertoire: "Primary Colors" -- Yellow; Blue; Red --all selections by T. Larson

NICE!  Rudy asked where they came from.  I told him that this was the tiny corps from a few years ago and reminded him of the CG guy I met at the Calabasas show.  He was quite surprised, as was I.  I like the big red flags, and their new uniforms.

VK Mirror on Wheels

OMG, they have a MIRROR!  For those of you that don't know, VK likes to mock another drum corps' show every year in little ways.  Last year, they had a chair that looked exactly like BD's.  This year, they have a mirror hanging from the DM stand.  I guess we know what they did yesterday on their day off. :)  The DM used it to primp before giving his flower away for "La Vie en Rose".  I laughed and laughed.  "SHARK!"  then they ran off the field.  I must not have heard them shout the other night, because I was puzzled by their running.  Fun as usual, VK.  Now just work on that intonation, please.


Repertoire:  "Fade to Black" -- Liberty by S. Vai; Uprising by Muse; The Motive Revolution by E. Whitacre; Turbine by J. Mackey; Tarantella (from Ethel) by P. Kline

Our reactions as they entered the field:  "Death."  "In the '70s."  "Is it about Elvis dying?"  "No, Scrubs."  "Death in a hospital."  I like their gray and sparkly plumes.  I lke that DM!  He really gets into it.  The Scary Shroud Lady's dress is turning green from grass stains on her hem.
Scary Shroud Lady and her corps


PC Color Guard

GREAT sound, PC!  I really like that show, especially musically.  Rudy loved all of the dissonant chords.   I lamented that day that it would most likely be the last time I'd see this show live.  Well, circumstances have since changed, and now I DO get to be at Indy for Quarterfinals!  YAY!  See you there, PC!

No, they're not falling

V pointed out that one of the marimba players looks like a young Josh Duhamel.  Somebody lost their shoe.  CG dropped her saber, then kicked it and couldn't pick it up.  The guard work needs help.  I'm so used to them having great CG, so it's disappointing.  Rudy texted that the way amped synthesizer was very distracting.  I responded with "wait until you see this next one". 


...And now there's talking and a galloping horse.  Sigh.  Those silver flags really shimmer in the light.  Very pretty, especially with so many of them.  Bro said that he saw the guy playing the pitches of the gal singing on the synthesizer.  I still don't like it.


MARIMBAS!!!  Wow, that was awesome.  I'm loving this show more every time I watch it.


The uniforms have mirrors on them, and are silver under the pants cape.  Love it.  Damn, marimbas!  That's fast!  (I tend to focus on marimbas a lot when Rudy is there, because his mom always wanted to learn how to play one).  I like that ending stance.  Rudy thinks that BD made a deal with Satan for their awesomeness.  Why do you think they have that name, Roo?  ;)

See how their rifles are all at the same height mid-air?  Awesome.


Hi, Chris!  Love, Mom
Whoo Hoooo!!!! VANGUARD!!!!
The DMs came up to the stands near us in order to conduct.  I tried to say hi to Christopher for his mom, but then didn't have the nerve to freak him out.  V didn't understand why Chris and the CG lead had to be there, since they didn't do anything, but I guess the leaders just wanted to have their entire presence together.

The brass ensemble played "Danny Boy"
They all played a section of "Bartok"
Then, of course, their anthem, "Send In The Clowns".  

I'm a happy girl. :)


63.35 So Cal Dream

Open Class
60.25 City Sound
62.95 VK
69.80 Impulse
69.90 Revolution
72.15 Gold

World Class
68.10 Mandarins
70.25 PC
74.10 Academy
80.70 SCV
84.50 BD

Bro and V drove back to Wildomar with Rudy and Jeff, and I went home.  Bro was happy that he would get to hear all of the post-show talk from Rudy.  No crying this year, though.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Oscar Noir: Week Eight
The Dark Mirror
Monday, July 12, 2010

I arrived early because I had a meeting in Downtown L.A., so I ate my dinner and read my book to pass the time, since the line hadn't yet begun to form when I checked it out.  Linda was early to get in line, but she wasn't in the same line as I was, so I sat in my car for a little while longer than usual so as to rest my feet. I was waiting for Liz to park in our usual place, but she didn't show.  Later, I found out that she had a crisis at work and couldn't get away.  Bummer.  Linda found me, and I tried not to tell her about the drama of the line/passes, but couldn't hold back any longer and ended up telling her quietly about it anyway. The only drama that I heard in the line this day was that a guy was whining to the usher about how ridiculous the whole system was, and the usher said that there were fistfights in line one day.  Fistfights?  With *this* crowd?  Seriously?  And you can't pinpoint who these people were?  Are your witnesses even on the up and up?  Craziness.

Cartoon:  "The Tell Tale Heart" (1932)
Yup, it was Edgar Allen Poe's work.  Yup, creepy.  The animation was very angular, and it was actually not really "animated", as in movement, but actually different frames of stills.

Short:  "Adventures of Captain Marvel, Chapter Seven:  Human Targets"  (1941)
Captain Marvel did get shocked from the electric security system, and got knocked out for a bit, but he's OK.  The Scorpion figures out that Captain Marvel will follow if Betty is in danger, and sets a trap.  She is kidnapped and while in the passenger seat of the car, pulls out the key and pretends to throw it out the window.  She actually has the key in hand, though, and then there's a foot chase through the countryside.  Billy follows and Captain Marvel saves her, but she somehow gets kidnapped again, because the bad guy is hanging on to the side of the car.  I don't know why she just doesn't throw the key away again, but here's the cliffhanger again, as Captain Marvel doesn't even know that Betty is still in trouble.

Feature:  "The Dark Mirror" (1946) Story by Vladimir Pozner, Screenplay by Nunnally Johnson, Directed by Robert Siodmak, and starring Olivia de Havilland, Lew Ayres and  Thomas Mitchell
  • A bunch of Nunnally Johnson's family members were in the audience.
  • The film was introduced by John August, screenwriter for "Big Fish", "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Corpse Bride".  He talked about the fact that usually the outside world does not factor into any of the film noir because there was so much going on with WWII that people needed an escape.  In this particular movie, though, psychology, which was starting to become prominent in real life, was a large factor.
  • Prior to the film, we were treated to an awesome audio introduction from Ms. de Havilland herself, whom recorded it earlier that week from her home in Paris.  She talked about how disturbing it was for her to play the twins, and she ended her introduction in a creepy way.
  • OK, I understood the need for the name necklaces, but they weren't attractive.
  • If you're following my blog posts about drum corps this summer, you know that mirrors are a huge part of one of the corps' shows.  It's a noir/mirror summer!
  • Olivia de Havilland is perfectly outstanding in this movie, and she sure did keep me guessing.
  • Since I have a degree in psych, the tests were especially interesting to me.  I'm glad I never had to use a Rorschach inkblot.  I totally loved the responses, though.
  • I love evil twin stories!  I watch too much soap opera.
  • That detective had some great lines, but I can't remember any of them.
  • Reminds me of the time that I had someone convinced that I was an evil twin. :)
  • I overheard someone saying that the music playing in the music box was also used in one of the other films in this series.  No wonder it was creepy. ;)
I really liked this movie.  It was very well done technically, with the placement of the twins and the seamless editing.  The story, though, with its twists, makes this a must-see.

Next up in the series:  "The Blue Dahlia"

DLR LotD 07/17/10

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day
Saturday, July 17, 2010

"So should I get apples or a bag of chips with my corn dog?" -- Linda, to Sherry, at the Corn Dog Cart, sending Sherry into a tirade of frustration

Happy 55th Birthday, Disneyland!

Friday, July 16, 2010

ID4 2010

I woke up in the morning, listening to Brady ask my mom, "What time did Daddy and Tita Sherry come home last night?"  Aww, he missed us.  When Dad brought Olivia downstairs, I was happy that she didn't shy away from me, and Brady spent some quality time with me, too.  It was nice to have him there to cuddle for a little while.  The family then went into its usual "What are we doing today, and let's confuse each other for an hour as we figure it out" routine.  I laughed with each change in plans, each question about who had to be where by when.  We finally decided to "allow" Allen to barbecue some burgers and hot dogs for us for lunch, so he and Auntie Milda went to the store to buy up the fixin's.

Allen did a great job, the food was tasty, and we enjoyed our picnic outside.  I learned that a Southern Hot Dog has cole slaw on top, so I tried that, and it was yummy.   I'm going to be doing that from now on, unless it's a chili dog.

OMG, I love seeing Miss O in this hat!  She's one of those babies that tries to eat everything, so here she is, chewing on a Taggies blanket.

After lunch, Bro and I trekked to Pasadena to enjoy the Rose Bowl festivities.  We were happy to be parked in a location with easy landmarks to remember (the driving range).  We saw that the line was really long to enter the Bowl, so we decided to watch some corps warm-ups.   We saw that the mirrors were being unloaded for the Blue Devils, so we walked over to see them up close.  I guess I didn't have to worry about glass being broken on the field, because the mirrors were actually just very shiny material on a board.  Yes, they DO have a separate truck just for those mirrors.  Wow.  We saw the drumline marching down the pathway, and listened to them when they stopped to play for the crowd for a few minutes.  Then they went wherever, and we headed over to the drumcorps trailer area.  We saw that the SCV drumline was walking somewhere, so we followed them, and listened to their warm-up until we decided to get to our seats.  
SCV Bass Line

Our seats were on the 50-yard line, 50 rows up from the field.  We were seated near the mother of Chris, the backfield drum major for SCV.  She was really proud of her son, and she said that his girlfriend is the backfield DM for Phregiment.  Cool!  We enjoyed hearing her talk about him.

The Star-Spangled Banner was played by The Academy.    I would have been happier if they had saved the fly-by for *after* the National Anthem, so that we could actually hear it.  They also lit a few fireworks during the anthem, which annoyed me again.  Each corps then performed their regular 2010 show.  No judging, just fun.

Somebody dropped their stick, as well as something shiny on the field.  I liked seeing the formations from our view.  

One of the CG gals had a flag in her face as she ran down the field.  I can't see the synthesizer guy's fingers move for the proper singing notes. 

Here are those cool CG uniforms.

OK, I was annoyed again.  People were doing the wave during the quietest portion of their show, giving the corps no respect AGAIN.  The woman next to me, sitting in a *reserved* seat for drum corps fans, remarked when she was one of the only ones doing the wave in our section: "It dies by the time it gets over here."  That's because we're WATCHING THE SHOW, woman!  AUGH!  There was also tooting from horns not on the field, and I thought I was going to lose it.  I love it when the corps plays fortississimo!  I also like the double purple flags.  Two sticks ended up on the field.  Perhaps the drummer got caught up in the festivities and did his/her own wave and forgot to play.  Like that action shot?

They had a tribute to the Pasadena Firefighters, as well as a tribute to local military who had died in the line of duty, entitled "Honoring our Fallen from San Gabriel Valley".  No, they didn't toot horns during that.

OK, I get the ending now.  I've deemed the raising of the one CG move the "Red Martha", because it reminded me of last year.  Christopher's mom is funny.  She talked about how Chris' arms would get tired from all of the clapping as he would lead the corps onto the field.  I had asked Bro during warm-ups if the drums were brown.  He said, "Yeah, like bark.  Bark-tok."  That's my Bro.  I had no choice in the matter, you know.  :)

A flag got stuck between 2 of the mirrors when they were next to each other.  Oops.  They are Coolness Drumified:  awesome percussion feature.
 There are just so many of them!

All of the corps then returned for their patriotic portion, and played to that crazy crowd.  

PC:  "Strike Up the Band" and "You're A Grand Old Flag"
Mandarins:  "An American Salute", which included "When Johnny Comes Marching Home"
Academy: Hymns of the Armed Forces
SCV:  "Let Freedom Ring"

BD didn't play anything alone, but their drum majors led all of the corps in "The Battle Hymn of the Republic".  
I like this shot of BD and SCV with each other.  Nice red and blue!

Then came the fireworks, which the hosts stated were "the biggest in California, the West Coast, the nation, and the world!"  I have news for you people:  the world outside of USA is probably not lighting fireworks in celebration of *our* independence tonight.  I'm pretty sure about that, especially in England. ;)  It was, indeed, quite a long fireworks show, and I'm pretty sure I got some ash in my eye.

Afterward, I looked at the souvies again, but didn't buy anything.  I had already bought a handmade patriotic necklace from The Academy's trailer earlier in the day.  The pathway back to the car was lined with carts of bacon-wrapped hot dogs, which smelled absolutely delish!  We had to wait for a very long time before we could even move the car, and even as we were leaving our section, the hot dog vendors were selling to people in their cars!  Bro and I decided on some Del Taco for our ride home, though, and drove back to Wildomar, wondering if the rest of the family got to see some fireworks, too. 

Happy 224th, USA!

Safe and Secure

Lo and I celebrated her birthday at Tokyo Wako, at the sushi bar.  I was the designated driver, so she had a Samurai cocktail, which came in a Geisha glass for her to take home.  She was hilarious at one point when she realized that she was very warm due to the soup she ordered + the alcohol she had been imbibing.

Afterward, we saw the Tom Cruise/Cameron Diaz flick, "Knight and Day".
  • I love it when Tom Cruise kicks ass.
  • Diaz was really cute in this movie.  I love how she totally hit on him on the plane.
  • "June...  June... June."  "Stop saying my name!!!"
  • Poor Marc Blucas plays the (heroic) sap that doesn't get the girl again.
  • Just so y'all know, I was on Roy's side the whole time, through every twist and turn.
  • Cruise should just OWN a sunglass company.  He looks good in them in every movie.
  • That's an awesome car.
  • How does one buy a deserted island, exactly?
  • "How did I get in these clothes?"
  • Great action sequences, in the plane, in Spain, and,yes, on a train!  OK, and in/on the cars, too.
Great summer movie.  I really enjoyed this.

Happy Birthday, Lo!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Don't Ever Look Back

Oscar Noir: Week Seven
 The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
Monday, June 28, 2010

Liz was unable to join me for this one, so I was on my own.  I arrived fairly early, so I was near the front of the line.  Right before they opened the doors for us, the series' representative and speaker Randy told all of us at the front that because people had done stuff that was "illegal", this would be the last year for them to offer the series pass.  What was this "illegal" stuff?  He said something about codes against the fire marshal, and the treatment toward the ushers/staff.  He also said that the phone calls/complaints he received stated that the perpetrators were the ones that were often at the front of the line.  So we were told that we should advise whomever it is (if it isn't us to whom he was currently yelling -- or maybe speaking loudly, so we could hear him) that they ruined it for everyone else.  He then said that we should all be aware that just because we had series passes, this doesn't mean that we're members of the Academy, which I guess some people had thought they were, by just paying $30.00.  Seriously?  So they couldn't just talk to whomever was giving them trouble AT THE TIME IT WAS HAPPENING, and revoke their passes?  WTF?  I had not seen any of this behavior in all of the weeks that I attended.  I didn't see any fire codes being violated (not that I know all of the codes).  I did not see people standing in the aisles and blocking exits, nor were they yelling "fire" or pulling the fire alarms needlessly.  Last post about this, I said it was ugly.  This was just downright preposterous.  I'm writing this two weeks later and I'm still pissed off about it.  I see the problem as this:  they issued series passes, and said that if you're not there with your pass by a certain time, they would let standby ticket holders inside.  There were also regular ticket holders, whom were guaranteed a seat because they had paid the $5.00.   So it was my assumption, and probably many others', that all you had to do was show up on time and you'd have a seat.  If you got there late, then you'd need to be in the standby line.  In my logic, therefore, you would only have a certain number of series passes issued.  Everyone else would be either regular ticket holders, or standby.  Once the cutoff time passes, then you let in the standby people.  Sounds easy enough, right?  Well, APPARENTLY, from what I overheard, they were letting standby people in before the cutoff time for the pass holders.  (This is before the week that they started handing out numbers).  So whose fault is it that they have too many people in there?  This is something that could be easily controlled, yet they don't see their part in this.  Just stop letting people in!  AUGH.

OK, is that enough ranting for you?  I was bummed that Liz wasn't there to help me bitch that night, and so that maybe she could ask the guy what codes were violated, since she knows about some of that stuff.  Oh, wait.  I forgot to add that to top it all off, the only seats available in the center section in front of the VIP section was the 1st 3 rows.  THREE.  So this has nothing to do with them not having enough room for the series pass holders?  Harumph!

When the show was about to start, the same guy did not mention that he had scolded us at the front of the line.  In fact, we were told later that it was his birthday that day.  OK, whatever.  I joined in the singing, but only because he had put together such a terrific program.  His people skills need help.  

Cartoon:  "Rooty Toot Toot" (1951)
I absolutely loved this piece, which was a stylized animated version of "Frankie and Johnny".  The jazz was awesome, and the animation was fun.  I want to see this again!  It was voiced by Thurl Ravenscroft.  Oh!  Well, it's no wonder then why I liked this so much. Ooh, I found it. :)

Short:  "Adventures of Captain Marvel, Chapter Six: Lens of Death"  (1941)
Captain Marvel gets out of this pickle by looking above him, and seeing a hole in the ceiling of the cave.  He jumps up and finds a way out.  The Scorpion (hissss!) sets up a trick to find out where the other men keep their lenses.  There is a gunfight at one of the houses, and the cliffhanger is that we don't know whether or not Captain Marvel will be electrocuted by the security system where the lens is kept.

Feature:  "The Strange Love of Martha Ivers" (1940)  Screenplay by Robert Rossen and Robert Riskin, Story by Jack Patrick, Directed by Lewis Miletone, Music by Miklos Rosza, and starring Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Lizabeth Scott, and Kirk Douglas

  • The film was introduced by Robin Swicord, screenwriter for "Little Women", "Memoirs of a Geisha", and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button".  I like that she said that her mother noted that the bad girl always wears the dark lipstick.  That makes me just want to wear dark lipstick more often. ;)  
  • Ooh, another Barbara Stanwyck film, this time as a brunette!  Wow, she's awesome.
  • This was Kirk Douglas' first film, and he does a great job as the wimpy Walter.
  • Why have I never heard of Van Heflin before?  I like him.  I like how the director added the twirling of the coin on his fingers as the habit of a gambler.
  • Lizabeth Scott really did look, in Swicord's words, "like the love child spawn of Veronica Lake crossed with Lauren Bacall."  Beautiful, and she even sounded like Bacall with that throaty voice of hers.  She's got some awesome clothes for someone who just got out of jail.
  • I like seeing what's made the 3 main characters (Martha, Sam and Walter) who they are, so we know what's been sticking in their collective craw all these years.
  • "The road curved.  I didn't.
  • Lizabeth Scott spoke after the movie, and she seemed to remember the shooting of the film like she had just finished it yesterday.  She said that she wanted to act in the theater, not in the movie business, but ended up there anyway.
  • We were also treated to a video of Kirk Douglas speaking about this film recorded in Palm Springs.  He wasn't going to move to Hollywood either!  He also wanted to work in the theater.  
  • Best part of Mr. Douglas' speech was that it was Stanwyck's idea as to how Ivers would eventually meet her demise.  Coolness.
I still can't figure out what the title means, Ms. Swicord.  It's still a mystery to me.

Next:  "The Dark Mirror"

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Beyond Infinity, My Friend

I wasn't able to get the seats that my friends and I wanted on opening weekend at the El Capitan, so we saw "Toy Story 3" in 3-D the next weekend, instead.  Mox had already seen the film and said that we'd cry, so Linda supplied tissues for us.  For some reason, there was a line to get in, even for the VIP seats.  That was strange to us, but Linda and I had fun as we laughed at the 2 guys in line who turned down a panhandler because she clearly had enough money to buy nail polish.  (Her toes were painted).  I just loved the fact that they *noticed* the nail polish on her toes.

We picked up our refreshments and Mox was a bit disoriented since our seats that night were on the opposite side of the seats from where we usually sit.  We listened to the organist and wondered how he knew when he should stop playing.  Then Linda and Mox figured out that he probably keeps playing until he feels the organ descending.  Duh, Sherry.  I then wondered if there would be a pre-show, but there wasn't.  Linda and I got ready with her Bullseye and my Jessie.  Yeeehaaaaaw!

I also saw the movie a couple of weeks later, with Bro, V, and Brady, for Brady's first movie theater experience.  I wish I had a picture of him in his kid-size 3-D glasses.

The Pixar short, "Day & Night" was humorous and thought-provoking.  What would you discover if you got over your fears of the unknown?  I loved the artistry and the concept.  Brilliant. Dr. Wayne Dyer's quote is inspiring.

Then it was time for the 3rd installment of "Toy Story 3".

  • OK, that spaceship reminded me of "Pigs in Space".
  • Death By Monkeys.  Hmmm....a little bit of foreshadowing?  V said that her uncle gave her one of the monkeys with the cymbals when she was a kid, and was creeped out by it back then.  Dude, there's a reason those things were in Haunted Mansion Holiday.
  • Loved the video clips of Andy growing up, and yes, his mom made me cry when she looked at his empty room.
  • I don't know why the toys never listen to Woody when he tells them important stuff.  Didn't they learn from the first movie?!
  • People are still allowed to leave trash bags on the sidewalk?
  • I like the fact that the toys still hide under stuff as they walk around in public.
  • I've never heard of some of the toys at Sunnyside, but people say they've had Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear.  I feel deprived somehow, because I never had a strawberry-scented bear, but also feel better that I didn't have the stuff that creeped me out.
  • They mentioned Hungry Hungry Hippos, and I cheered.
  • I want a Buttercup.
  • Mr. Pricklepants made me giggle every time he talked.
  • The Caterpillar Room is proof that when the label says "For Ages 3+", people should really follow the guidelines.
  • Totally loved the Ken Fashion Show.  (For you "The Office" fans, this is what I now hear in my head as I type this:  "Fashion Show! Fashion Show! Fashion Show at Lunch!")
  • Smart Barbie is awesome, and that's not just because she's voiced by Jodi Benson.
  • Te amo, Spanish Buzz.  
  • Brady started wanting to leave toward the end -- but then he saw the trash truck and was completely mesmerized.  The boy loves trash trucks.  Seriously.
  • The scene at the dump scared me and I almost cried, thinking, "They wouldn't end it like this, would they?"
  • I heart Bonnie, and the way she makes sounds on her microwave.
  • I love that Andy still cherished his favorite toys.  It made me dislike my mother for making me throw/give away stuff, though.  There must be something I've suppressed from my childhood in there somewhere.  Well, yeah, and in adulthood.  Whatever.
  • That whole ending was sweet as can be.  Tears streamed down my face for probably at least 10 minutes.  Both Times.  Even right now.  Sigh.
At the El Cap, we made our way to the Toy Story Fun Zone.  We played the video games (and Linda and I showed our true non-gaming skills), we all went through the maze, and we watched "Dancing with the Toys".  I loved seeing Buzz dance with Jessie, and I love that Gipsy Kings arrangement.

A fun time was had by all.  Pixar does it again!

In Andy's words, "Thanks, guys."

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Music vs. Mirrors

Corps at the Crest
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Mount San Antonio College -- Walnut, CA

Bro went ahead of me to Mt. SAC because I needed to sing in church beforehand.  Therefore, he was there for SoCal Dream, City Sound, and Gold.  Incognito was not present, and they were not at the Vista show the night before.  I wonder if they're going as some other corps in disguise. ;)  Bro called me to tell me about Incognito as I was pulling into the parking lot.  Later, he told me that he did that not so much for my benefit, but to inform the annoying people near him that had no idea what was going on.  His comment to me spread like wildfire, so I guess it was effective.

I walked through the gates just in time to see Revolution from the sidelines.  They have a nice sound, but need to work on some of the colorguard stuff.  Somebody in the CG was dressed in a big, black cape.  I don't know what that was about, but their show is called "Fade to Black", with repertoire Liberty by S. Vai, Uprising by Muse, The Motive Revolution by E. Whitacre, Turbine by J. Mackey, and Tarantella (from Ethel) by P. Kline.

My seat was at the left 40-yard line, 18 rows up.  Bro was seated more toward the center, 6 rows in front of me.  We were in different places because Sherry was an idiot and only ordered one ticket for the show, even though she was supposed to buy 2 of them.  (Sherry tends to discuss herself in 3rd person when she's being a nimrod in order to separate herself from the oh-so-objective writer).

Repertoire:  "United" -- America the Beautiful by S. A. Ward, Beyond the Breaking Tides by C. W. Earl, Songs of Earth, Water, Fire and Sky by R. W. Smith, Amber Waves by A. Gould, and Copland Finale (The Red Pony) by A. Copland

I like that Copland Finale, although I wasn't really appreciative of the Indian war chant thing, which I thought people didn't do anymore, out of respect for the Native Americans.  I liked the percussion feature.  Somebody lost a stick, and the judge threw it off of the field.  A lot of patriotic songs.  Am I watching the Troopers?  What's with that circle opening up a la the Sunburst?

Repertoire:  "Magical Mystery Tour -- 2010 Edition" -- I.  England -- Magical Mystery Tour by P. McCartney and J. Lennon, II.  The Caribbean/Latin America -- The Dance and They Kiss, End Titles (from Romancing the Stone) -- by A. Silvestri, III.  India -- Jai Ho (from Slumdog Millionaire)  by A.R. Rahman, G. Nama and T. Shah, IV. France -- La Vie en Rose by L. Guglielmi and E. Piaf; Overture (from Orpheus in the Underworld)  by J. Offenbach

I like the bit with the soprano upstaging the mello.  There seemed to be a bit that was channeling the Trash Can Trio, but with 4 tall drums.  So would you call that a Trash Can Tetra?  At that point, people had really red wigs, including the drum major, who had switched with the main one so that he could give a flower to the CG during La Vie En Rose.  That sop guy thought that one of the flowers was for him and was amusingly swooning about it.  They need to clean up the music during this ballad.  The CG doesn't have their uniforms yet.  It appears that the show isn't finished yet either, because it stopped abruptly, and I don't remember hearing the Offenbach.

I bought a program and checked out the souvie stands.  Found a grey hoodie at the SCV stand that I like a lot.  Thinking about it.  As I was walking back to my seat, I overheard a woman, who was looking at the Mandarins at the gate: "Is that Vanguard?"  Lady, those aren't even their colors!

Repertoire:  "To Dream of Far Away Lands": I. The Caravan -- Meetings Along the Edge by R. Shankar & P. Glass; II.  To Dream of Far Away Lands -- The Mountain of Fruit and Flowers by D. Buckley; III.  The Threat of Mongols/The Himalayas -- Samudra Manthan by S. Sharma; IV.  Discovering India -- Quiet by S. Chandra, Ever So Lonely by Monsoon; V. Arrival in China -- Ambush from Ten Sides by Y. Ma

Recorded music played as they walked onto the field and set up.  I thought that it was going to go away with the first real note, but no.  Then I thought it would go away after the transition, but no.  Then there was recorded singing.  AUGH!  If you're not going to come here and perform live, then I DO NOT want to hear you!  I like the CG pants,  and actually the whole outfit, including the cool turbans.  But I'm way unhappy about the recorded crap.  I was excited when I saw the program, thinking how nice it is that the 'Rins had returned to their Asian roots, and now this blech.   Don't get me wrong.  The music is gorgeous, but this is not the type of show that I want to see at a DCI competitive event.  

Repertoire:  "Strangers in Paradise" -- Prince Igor Overture by A. Borodin, Aquarium (from Carnival of the Animals) by C. Saint-Saens, Selections from the Prince Igor Opera by A. Borodin, Polovtsian Dances and Chorus by A. Borodin

Bro called me to tell me that this is the first show for the CG to wear their uniforms, which are purple.  I love that opening stance!  Their music is VERY well done, as Bro told me.  I'm annoyed by the synthesizer, but at least she's HERE playing her instrument.  The kneeling soprano lost his/her balance when the CG was dancing around him/her.  I like the part when the cymbal player appears to be chopping off the heads of the saber throwers one by one.  They need to catch their sabers more, not just during the dangerous work.  They also need to clean up their lines, but it's still early.  So I guess that my issue right now is more visual than musical, except for that synthesizer.  Oh, the Aquarium piece made me want to ride Space Mountain.  I miss that soundtrack.

Repertoire:  "Maze":  I.  We're Off!  This is going to be Easy! -- Macchu Picchu by S. Yagisawa; II.  Traps and Walls -- Asphalt Cocktail by J. Mackey; III.  No Way Out -- Sam's Gone (from I Am Legend) -- by J. N. Howard; IV.  We Made It! -- Turbine by J. Mackey

A CG gal got her flag caught in the yellow cord of her uniform.  This made me wonder why they needed to wear them at all, but they eventually untwisted them and used them like in rhythmic gymnastics.  Nice, full sound.  The bass drum ensemble got nice applause after their solo.  I like the visual of the people getting stuck in the wrong places.  What caused that big gasp by some of the people at the end?  Neither Bro nor I saw anything that would warrant that, so I don't know if anyone fell down or what it was.

Repertoire:  "Through a Glass, Darkly" -- Conflict by P. Rugolo, Mirage by P. Rugolo, Trajectories by F. Marke, Incident in Jazz By B. Graettinger, Laura by D. Raksin, City of Glass Suite I by B. Graettinger, La Suerte De Los Tontos by J. Richards

At first, when I saw the color guard uniforms, I thought, "Oh, dear."  Each CG outfit had multiple neon colors.  EACH of them.  Yikes.  But in the end, they weren't really that much of a distraction.  Maybe it's because there were so many mirrors being wheeled around.  36 of them.  Not small ones, but like, 7-8 feet tall ones.  The guys next to me thought that maybe they were supposed to be in a ballet class because they were looking at themselves during warm-up, but I didn't feel like correcting them by showing them the program.  I was not feeling sociable with the strangers.    So back to the mirrors.  Do they have to have a separate truck just to transport all of those everywhere?  What if someone hits the mirror with whatever they threw in the air?  Do they have to clean it all up before they go on so as not to get glass on people's feet?  I need to check as to whether or not the CG is actually wearing good shoes for this show.  I love the opening crash sound while they reveal the black and white flags.  Those flags are later shown in color toward the end of the show.  I also liked the effect of the drummers standing in front of the mirror, stepping to the side, and another identical drummer is on the other side without the mirrors.  This show was just AWESOME.  I  loved the soprano jazz duet.  Those sopranos are killers.  I was happy that they played a lot of the theme from "Laura", since it fit the theme of my summer.  The percussion feature was amazing, as well as was the big horn run.  I heart when BD does jazz.

Repertoire:  "Bartok" -- Concerto for Orchestra and Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste by B. Bartok

The announcer messed up while saying the name of the corps, which made everyone want a do-over, but that didn't happen, so the corps got to hear "boo"s that were not directed toward them.  The CG uniforms match my sparkly ruby red nail polish.  :)  I love seeing the corps' plumes fluttering in the wind.  The drum majors' plumes are BIG and RED.  I'm going to be confused on Finals Night.  I thought that maybe their show wasn't finished because it ended abruptly and people didn't know if they should clap, but Bro says that the actual piece ends like that, so I wonder even more now.  The complete show was not performed the night before, so it sounds like they're still working out the ending.  I like those horns, especially the contrast between the high and low brass.  The music is a little muddy but nice.  I like the lone traditional marching snare.  I don't know why they needed pianists in the pit.  Can't the marimbas play that part?  Visually, I liked seeing them jump up "like popcorn", according to one of my neighbors.  I also liked when they were all gathered in a circle and lifted up the one CG gal.  I liked all of the tension in the music.  Ya gotta love Bartok.

This was done during the final tabulation of the scores, instead of after the awards ceremony.  I like that it is done this way, since for most of these shows during the regular season, the performer for the encore is pre-determined.  

Pacific Crest
"The Way You Look Tonight" for warm-up
Selections from "Maze" -- I'm liking the music for this show
Corps anthem "Ave Maris Stella" -- PC never disappoints me when they play their song.  Happy sigh.


All-Age Corps

Recognition to So Cal Dream (we think they were on DCA scoring sheets): 65.75

Open Class

5) 59.30  City Sound
4) 61.75  Velvet Knights (they had a plush shark during the ceremony)
3) 67.50  Revolution
2) 70.00  Impulse
1) 72.35  Gold (I remember when they were from Hawthorne and tiny.  I'm looking forward to seeing their show on Monday)

World Class

5) 66.95  Mandarins
4) 70.05  Pacific Crest
3) 72.60  The Academy

At this point, the guys next to me said, "This should be interesting.  Music vs. Mirrors."

2) 80.25  Santa Clara Vanguard
1) 83.30  Blue Devils

Bro and I drove to our parents' house afterward for some family weekend fun.

Next up:  Rose Bowl