Cover to the 2000 novel, Wagon Train to the Stars by Diane Carey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Gene Roddenberry, when pitching to studio executives the concept for Star Trek, described the television series as “Wagon Train to the stars.” The analogy was easily understood: hostile natives, from alien planets not the American prairies, would cause the group of people venturing into an unknown landscape to examine their values, presumptions and relationships. From time to time, weapons would be drawn, good guys and bad guys would die, but in the end right would prevail. That was nearly 50 years ago.
The premise still holds with Star Trek Into Darkness. Unlike most beloved television shows turned into major motion pictures, the fundamentals that engendered the loyalty of a generation of fans have not been thrown out with the lithium. Mythic, with characters that act and react as the audience anticipates. Even the baddies are textbook. Yet, just as the original series did, the plot becomes a commentary on current events. A commentary palatably packaged in a distant future.
Ironman 3 on the other hand forgot its roots for half the film (as I explained in great depth in a previous review). The hero strayed from his essential qualities, whereas Kirk and Spock – The hero and his sidekick – at their core remain the same: wise-cracking, one-upping, sacrificing and pushing emotional boundaries. If they were Bing and Danny, they would be lip-syncing Sisters, on a Miami club floor.
I loved Star Trek Into Darkness so much that I refuse to deliver spoilers. The best advice I can provide is to go see it!
Harry Connick Jr at Tulane University May 16, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My heroes have been using social media to share an interview with Harry Connick, Jr., conducted after he spent a week acting as a mentor for American Idol participants. Betty Buckley used her Twitter account to get the word out. She retweeted Michael Feinstein‘s tweet. Two of America’s finest song interpreters support Connick’s point of view, and, if I read between the lines, lament with him.
If you haven’t been following the story, here’s my debrief. Connick coached four Idol contestants who were tasked with singing songs from the “Great American Songbook.” Or as I prefer – songs from the time when lyrics and melody counted! The upstarts ignored his advice, and Judge Jackson took him to task for the advice he gave one young lady. Connick made the point that a singer can’t sing a classic properly if he or she hasn’t taken time to understand the context and meaning of a song. Harry expects his singers to do homework!
Great actors do their homework. Interpreting Shakespeare requires effort. Why shouldn’t singers put some effort into singing the poetry of Larry Hart, Cole Porter or Ira Gershwin? Good on ya, Harry!
Thursday night, I’ll be in the audience when Buckley interprets Memory for the zillionth time. I believe she is going to sing it as if it were the first time. Because Betty understands the power of lyric interpretation.
With more than 700,000 members, one should be wary of calling Facebook a closed community. With the objective of connecting the world – limited only by political agendas – Facebook’s agenda can be seen as an anti-privacy agenda.
Consider Open Graph. At first glance it appears to be a boon to those who use Facebook to communicate with those who friend or like. However Facebook is a business. Never forget that Facebook is a business. So the value to Facebook of Open Graph is its value to aid message mongers – not-for-profit and for-profit alike.
If privacy is important to you, do not post on the Internet – ever. If you want an Internet presence, but want to protect your privacy, don’t join Facebook, or any “closed” group with a population greater than that of the United States of America.
Deanna Durbin on the Argentinean Magazine cover. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My condolences to the friends and family of Deanna Durbin, a child star of the 1930s and someone instrumental in educating me about orchestras. She was 91 when she passed. She retired from acting at 28. There are Glee stars older than that who are just beginning their career.
People of my generation remember Ms. Durbin, because her black and white films were shown repeatedly on televisions after school. The after school movie was a staple at my house. I remember them all as black and white: We didn’t have a colour television.
There was a time I could mention 100 men and a girl and I would be understood. That no longer happens. If my pop culture references are not from Harry Potter, Britney Spears or the Spice Girls, a translator is required.
There are some older references that work – Star Trek and Star Wars. A current pop culture reference that I find is understood by nearly all is The Big Bang Theory. I was at a party recently where three generations grinned when a reference to Sheldon and Knock, Knock Penny was made.
Ms. Durbin, I hope a new generation of fans are inspired to watch your films. Thanks for the orchestra lesson.
Forty-one years ago this weekend I married. The day shone. No boots and overcoats were required. Through the tears and fears hope for an equally bright future was anticipated. I carried a bouquet of daffodils for romantic reasons that I recall still. The memory of the daffodils lasted longer than the husband.
You might guess from my opening remark that I am of the “Dick and Jane” generation. All dogs were dalmatians. Rivers ran blue. Girls wore frocks and mary-janes; boys wore dungarees. Fathers new best and mothers stayed home.
As I scraped the car window for the second day in a row, I contrasted that April so long ago and this 21st century April, chillier literally and metaphorically. Hope is tarnished. Spring is an ideal never to be achieved.
Four decades later I finally understand this quote from Albert Camus: “Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present.”