Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2018 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is "Cleaning the Clutter"--I might literally be cleaning my closets or figuratively clearing the excess from some other part of my life. I'm sure you can think of other things this could mean for you as well.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

What was, What is, What Will be (#BOTB results)


There's the first thing, then the next thing, and whatever things come after that.   That's the story of life and everything else...



Battle of the Bands Results


        In this round my Battle of the Bands was between two different songs with both videos shot in Los Angeles.  There wasn't much of a contest between the two opponents.

        I thought that the Postino video might have won some votes with it's clever sense of humor.  That what happened for me.  At first I had an adverse reaction to the music though I'll admit it started to grow on me to where I like it now.  I especially liked the video which I found to be unique, quirky, and funny though it took a couple views for me to start catching all of it.  As far as my video vote (which I guess most voters missed) I gave my vote to Postino as did a couple of you.

         Like the majority of the voters my music/song vote went to Jenny and the Mexicats for best song performance.  I really like this group so it's always possible that you might see another future Battle featuring this group.

Final Vote Tally

Jenny & the Mexicats           16

Postino                                    1

Next Battle on Monday January 15th 2018

        Another year come upon us.  I can only shake my head in pondering the fact.  This holiday season I'll be doing something on this blog that I've never completely done in the past--I'll be taking a break.  Oh, I might get on the internet now and then and maybe drop in on a blog or two, but I'm finding that a lot of bloggers are already on break.  Seems like a good time for me to do it too.   My return will be with the January 15th version of Battle of the Bands.   Now I'll need to decide which Battle I'll be using.

Have a Merry Christmas and completely wonderful days beyond that!~~

         




Friday, December 15, 2017

Fun in Los Angeles (#BOTB)

Montage of Los Angeles pictures on Commons
Montage of Los Angeles pictures on Commons (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Are You Ready for Some Fun?

      
          I've been living in the Los Angeles area for over 26 years now and rarely go many places.  There are several places like Venice Beach, La Brea Tar Pits, Griffith Park or Hollywood that I've been to many times.   Those are places I know from repeated visits having taken out-of-town folk there.  Everybody goes to those kinds of places.  And they're not overly expensive like going to Disneyland which if anyone is going, they can go without me.  

         Then there are those places you pass through or pass by.  Sometimes I'll linger in those places if I'm looking for some restaurant that I've heard about. But looking out as I drive through I see a lot of those nondescript urban areas of mysterious factories, an assortment of businesses, and clusters of older housing.  That's where a lot of people live and this is their neighborhood.  I'd say my neighborhood might look strange to some people just passing by.  But I think it all looks pretty normal.

         That's where you'll usually find me--home in my neighborhood where everything seems pretty normal. Still, there are plenty of  people who are getting out and about.  Some are tourists seeing the highlights.  Some are just people doing the everyday stuff that they as people do. In my Band Battle today I'll be looking at both groups from two different musical perspectives.

Battle of the Bands

Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens each month on the 15th and on some blogs there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle on the 1st of the month.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.

          
Filmed in L.A.

          In this Battle I present two music videos filmed in Los Angeles but from very different points of view.  This Battle was inspired by Stephen T McCarthy's post with a Los Angeles theme.  Though the songs I'm using are not geographically specific the videos are most definitely filmed in the Los Angeles area.  The perspectives are very different as are the musical styles.  Hope you enjoy these...


Jenny and the Mexicats   "Verde Mas Alla"  (2012)

     Trumpet player Jenny Ball from the United Kingdom was eighteen when, while touring with an orchestra, met up with a couple of Mexican musicians at a flamenco bar in Spain.  After some "let's start a band" dreaming, the trio joined up with a Spanish cajón player to begin producing a delightful mix of traditional and pop music styles.  Jenny learned enough Spanish to begin writing songs in the language and the band began recording.  Now based in Mexico City, Jenny and her Cats continue to make great music in English as well as Spanish.

       Over the past couple years Jenny and the Mexicats has become one of my favorite bands.  These highly talented musicians play an eclectic mix that ranges from traditional flamenco to rock and a bunch of styles in between.  Many of their songs appearing on YouTube have as many as two or three video versions with additional live videos shot by fans.  The band has chosen to remain independent, recording under their own Mexicat label.

      The song "Verde Más Allá"  or "Green Beyond" is about a woman who has apparently extricated herself from a relationship and is enjoying her life.  She prefers not to work, but to spend her days dancing and drinking pints of Caguama beer and just having the best time that she can have.  As to the "green" in the title there is some controversy about what it means, but taking Jenny's word for it she would rather the listener come up with their own interpretation.  It makes me think of the old expression "The grass is greener on the other side" which fits with the rest of the song story.

      This video version of the song is basically a tourist view of Los Angeles with stops in Venice Beach, Griffith Park, and Hollywood.  These are some of the places I typically would take visitors who had not been to Los Angeles before.  In fact, the guitar player at the 1:06 mark in the video is a guy who I've seen in most of my own visits to Venice Beach.

       Enjoy the music and take in some of the sights here in Los Angeles. This is pretty much where I'd take you if you were visiting me...






Postino   "I Love It"  (2013)

       Not much in the way of lyrics to this song--the title says it all. This bit of crazy jazzy electronica was devised by the South Korean music producer Junho Lee who is based in London.  There is some hot playing in the soundtrack and what can one say about the visuals?   Guff.com says it well I think:  "For those who have never been to LA, this is actually normal. This isn't even a music video. It's just a typical Thursday here."

        No tourist spots in the video, but there are the typical things one might see while driving in Los Angeles--or walking around town dressed like something out of Where the Wild Things Are.  I particularly get a kick out of the scene in the convenience store and later on the bridge when the little boy tries to hold the girl's hand.  Watch for those bits because they are a hoot.

         If this song doesn't get you moving on the first hearing then play it a few times and I can almost guarantee you'll be moving with the beat if not dancing outright.  Maybe I'm weird--okay I'll admit it:  I'm weird.  I like this one.






Time to Vote!

    
    
You got songs and you got videos.   Which song version do you like best?   Which video did you enjoy the most?   You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.  The videos are both relatively shosrt.

        Please vote on your favorites by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.


Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

 ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ 

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 


Cherdo on the Flipside 



Winner of this Battle Announced on December 21st

         Since I'll be taking some time off starting next Friday December 22nd, I'll be posting the winner of this Battle on Thursday the 21st.  That gives you plenty of time to vote.  And if you're obsessive like I am then you might be listening to both of these videos a number of times between now and then.  Please vote and then come back on Thursday to see if your choice came out on top.   I'll also be telling you then what is in store for Tossing It Out after that.

     Do you have any favorite tourist attractions near you where you would tend to take house guests?   When you visit someone do they usually take you to places they consider highlights?   Do go out to visit attractions near you?






Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Happy 20th Anniversary!




December 13, 1997 
                 
              Twenty years ago on this date my lovely wife and I were married at Trinity Baptist Church in Downey California.   At that time we merged my family of three daughters with Betty and her daughter.  In those years we have watched our daughters grow into beautiful successful women who among them have given us six grandchildren to date.       

         It has been a great ride that has whizzed by far too quickly.  I look forward to many more years ahead  filled with travel, spending time with family, and just enjoying our time together.

        I love you Betty!  You have made my life special and especially beautiful.  I thank you for that and I thank God for bringing us together.



             

Friday, December 8, 2017

Watching the World Go By (#BOTB Results)


The dreamer in me makes me see this world as a wonderful place.  Then this old world slaps me around and knocks me down leaving me battered and bruised.   Still, I intend to make the Dreamer win--even if it kills me...


Arlee Bird with daughter Ada @ 1984

       Life seems much like a parade to me.  Sometimes I might be just watching it go by while at other times I'm marching in step to the flow of it all.  All might be crazy wonderful in one moment, then comes just the moving forward, ever forward.   No matter what,  we're all a part of that parade whether it be marching, watching, or just knowing that it keeps on going.

        Sometime around Thanksgiving of 1964, my family's juggling act participated in the Chicago Christmas Parade.  We were living in northeastern Indiana at the time--about 40 miles from The Loop as downtown Chicago is called.  The parade was there. 

         We had to leave the house at some wee hour of the morning.  We got dressed in our show apparel before leaving and put heavy coats over that because it was very cold.  Chicagoland tends to get extremely bitter harsh cold in late November.  Now here we were driving in the middle of the night dressed in silly costumes.  My father said we had to do it.  And my sister and I would each get $25 which was not bad for a thirteen year old like I was at the time.

         My father drove to a designated area where we could park and assemble with the parade which was organizing in a staging area.  We shucked our coats into the car.  Now my father and I were only wearing tuxedos with those thin pants that didn't offer much protection from the cold, but I guess it was better than my mother and sister who were wearing short costumes with black fishnets.

        I can't say how long that parade was but it was a long way to walk in the freezing cold while juggling.  Exerting the activity of both of those actions did warm us all up considerably.  At first the wooden handles of the clubs we were juggling slapping against our cold hands stung as though we'd been slapped in our open hands with a cane.   It hurt.  The cold hurt.  I was numb from being cold, tired, and generally overwhelmed by everything all around me.  And walking and juggling and walking and juggling.

        At the end of the parade route, we simply stopped juggling and got in a taxicab that took us back to the car.  I'm sure my father had that heat blasting in no time.  I had survived and now I would have twenty-five bucks.  My legs burned like they were on fire.  The numbness was gradually going away, but at the time it seemed like it lasted forever.

         I only marched in one other parade juggling along with my family.  We got paid for that one too.  It was a 4th of July parade in Johnson City, Tennessee.  Damn!  It was hot!  I'm not sure what's worse:  Juggling in a Christmas parade in Chicago or a July parade in Tennessee.   Neither I'd say.  They're both just fine because here I am still marching along.   Those parades were just parts of a much bigger parade.  I hope it still has a way to go, but when it does end I hope there's a warm taxi waiting for me.

Battle of the Bands Results



Where Is Your Heart?

        In my recent Battle between versions of "The Song from Moulin Rouge" known later as "Where Is Your Heart?", vocalist Joni James dominated the voting.  My vote goes to her version as well.  While the jazzed up Jonah Jones version is slick and catchy (it's been playing in my head a lot over the past couple of weeks), Joni's version is a lush melancholy arrangement such as the ones I've been used to hearing since childhood.  As many of you noted, the slower version is more fitting to the song's lyrics and intent.

       Without the lyrics and played at a faster tempo, Jonah Jones presents a fun performance that as both Stephen T. McCarthy and I noted as being similar to the style of the Ray Coniff Singers who were popular during the 1960s.  Or as Michael Todd pointed out in his humorous observation, "while I was listening to the Jonah Jones Quartet rendition, I was expecting to hear "Manamana" as sung by the Muppets".    Yeah, I can hear it.

      The Jonah Jones rendition has a lot of entertainment value and it's good music as well.  I liked it a lot.  But the version sung by Joni James has a lot of heart (that's appropriate) and evokes the emotion that the song intends.  Both versions are winners, but in this contest Joni James takes the trophy.

Final Vote Tally

Jonah Jones         7 votes

Joni James          12 votes



Next Battle on Friday December 15th

         There might be a post or two between now and then.  I live by whim these days.  That is unless I absolutely have to do something.  My next Battle will be one inspired by Stephen T McCarthy's recent Los Angeles showdown.    What you can expect to see on Tossing It Out next time are two different songs that are not exactly about Los Angeles, but both are filmed in Los Angeles from very different perspectives.  It's gonna be weird.

          Do you enjoy weird?   Do you like parades?   What are some parades you have been in (don't forget your school days!)?




Wednesday, December 6, 2017

No Regrets, But... (#IWSG)



Would Have, Could Have, and Should Have are three old friends who I try to avoid these days.  They just waste my time talking about things I can't do anything about...




Join us on the first Wednesday of each month in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group--a forum of writers who gather to talk about writing and the writer's life. For a complete list of participants visit Alex's Blog

      The co-hosts for the December 6th posting of the IWSG are Julie Flanders,Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner 



December 6 question - As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

         "No regrets" is one of my life rules.   But sometimes we can speculate and it's not like it's not obvious to me.  My answer is simple:  The thing I would have done differently is I would have written more.   

        Really though I can think many things that I should have done more of--a lot of them being the things I should have done more of every year.  I don't want to complain though as I have a great life and for now my future looks fine.  Things could always be better, but they could get a whole lot worse so I give thanks to God for what I have.

        So rather than think about what I did or didn't do last year, I'll start mapping out what's ahead.  Downsizing my life is definitely a big priority for me and I've been working on that one.  I need to start reading again--at least a half hour a day at barest minimum.  There are several other things I have in mind but no point in rambling about them here.

          The big thing that concerns this current post is that I need to start writing more.  Writing with intent.  Writing with a goal in mind.

           Keep telling myself.

           Do you ever really do enough of anything that you enjoy doing?    Do you spend more time writing or reading?   What is your favorite part of a journey taken?

To vote on my current Battle of the Bands please click HERE.  







Friday, December 1, 2017

Where Is Your Heart? (#BOTB)

The pursuit of love can make one a fearless fool while to deny love can make one foolishly afraid and eventually filled with sadness and regret.

English: a love heart in water
 a love heart in water (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
         Loving another person involves risk.  Betrayal and rejection can harden the heart, but not necessarily the spirit.   For many an artistic person, the hurt that follows the abandonment becomes like a junkie's drug in reverse.  Some poets thrive on pain.  Some of our greatest creative geniuses have left us at such a young age knowing little recognition until after they had passed from this world.  The heart is an elusive thing.

Battle of the Bands

Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens each month on the 15th and on some blogs there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle on the 1st of the month.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.



Where Is Your Heart?

          Often known as simply "The Song from the Moulin Rouge" the song performed in that movie which is lip-synced by Zsa Zsa Gabor while sung by obscure vocalist Muriel Smith should be more appropriately called "It's April Again".   Some of of the more well known recordings are instrumental versions by orchestras such as that of Percy Faith.  The song was originally a French song called "La Long de la Seine" making this a song that can be found under a few different names with many recordings of diverse stylistic forms and performing artists.  The version known as "Where Is Your Heart" was very popular in the fifties and into the sixties. 




Jonah Jones  "Where Is Your Heart"  (1961)

         Jazz trumpeter Jonah Jones began his career in the 1920s playing on Mississippi riverboats.  He  had numerous recordings released with his ensembles from the 1950s up to his death at age 90 in ther year 2000. 





Joni James  "Where Is Your Heart" (1958)

      My father liked the singing of Joni James so much that my parents named one of my sisters after her.  I never knew this until my mother told me a few years before she died.  I don't remember ever seeing any of James' albums around our house and I only vaguely recall her name back when I was a kid.





Time to Vote!

    
    
These are two very different versions with something to be said for either one.   Do you have a preference between these two choices?   Which version do you like the best?   You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

        Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.


Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

 ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ 

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 


Cherdo on the Flipside 


Winner of this Battle Announced on Friday December 8th

        Between now and results announcement day I'll be making my contribution to the Insecure Writer's Support Group on Wednesday December 6th.  In the meantime, between now and next Friday, please don't forget to vote on this Battle.   Come on, have a heart!

           Did you ever love someone who couldn't seem to return your love?   Have you ever learned about another's love for you that you never realized was there?  What is your idea of the ultimate romantic location real or imagined?





Monday, November 27, 2017

The Exclamation Point Makes the Difference


What's the point of this post?  The point is the point which is not the point you may think it is...




Self-portrait in the crowd, at the Moulin Roug...
Toulouse-Lautrec self-portrait in the crowd, at the Moulin Rouge, Art Institute of Chicago (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

           In my post for the Remakes Blogfest,  I had mentioned that Baz Luhrmann's version of The Great Gatsby was my favorite remake while I hated the director's 2001 film Moulin Rouge!.  Many have said that this is a love it or hate it sort of film and I can vouch from my own experience that I can see why the film would create such separate camps.  The music sequences are colorful and dazzling and well performed, but the story did not grab me.  I also found the characters to be annoying.  I'll likely give the film a third chance someday--someday when I'm in a strange mood, stranger than normal. 

           My reaction to that film made me hesitant to watch the 1952 film Moulin Rouge after I'd saved it from TCM for later viewing.  Since my wife had also hated the Luhrmann film of the same name except with an exclamation point, she always declined to watch the earlier version for fear that it might be like the other film.   Since I was sure that the film without the exciting punctuation mark would be different I waited until one night that I was watching movies alone to check it out.


Moulin Rouge (1952 film)
Moulin Rouge (1952 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

           Worth every award for which it won or was nominated, Moulin Rouge is a feast for the eyes as the story of artist Toulouse-Lautrec (played by Jose Ferrer) unfolds in come-to-life artwork that made him famous while telling the story of the amazing but sad life that he led.    A stellar cast includes an interesting portrayal of a cafe singer done by Zsa Zsa Gabor--I'd thought she only did game shows and variety show appearances.

            For me this film was an introduction to a famous French artist with whom I was familiar.  His artwork is prevalent having often been reproduced on items easily found in places like Target, Pier One Import, or the like. In other words I basically knew his style and some of his specific works without being intimately familiar with any of his works.  Many of his more famous paintings are recreated cinematically in the film. 

          Life stories whether exactly true or not are a film genre that I enjoy.  Moulin Rouge fits nicely into what I'd want to see in any biopic.   I'd highly recommend this film to anyone who might enjoy such a film as I have described without going into too many details.  This is one of those films that hit me with an impact that I'm still thinking about it--and it's been nearly a month since I watched it.

          If I haven't forgotten a film a day or so after I've seen it then that must mean something to me.  Odd how that works sometimes.

         What film have you seen that left such an impact on you that you continued to think about it for a long time after you'd seen it?    Have you seen this 1952 version of Moulin Rouge?    Care to hazard a guess as to what my Battle of the Bands song will be this coming Friday December 1st?  






Monday, November 20, 2017

Subtract Attract and You've Got What?

     The closer I get, the farther away I sometimes feel.  It's all a matter of nuances, ongoing perplexities and a realm of complexities.   Then there are my own assumptions about the way I would want things to be.  In the end things all work out as they are meant to be.



Is Love the Drug?

A scene from Kennywood, an amusement park loca...
A scene from Kennywood, an amusement park located in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania on the Monongahela River. This is a view of the Grand Carousel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
         If love or affinity does not exist between people then what is there?  We could be strangers known to each other, but each having a tacit refusal to recognize the other.   Like on a busy street we pass faces we see often, regularly avoiding eye contact, walking on.  There is our world and then there is the rest of the world that we don't know. 

       Perhaps in some deeply ingrained stubborn anger--an anger that understands not from where it came--or perhaps resentment rooted in events or words that have lost any actual impact on our lives other than the burden we carry in our memory--if we remember.   Facing days with fists clenched and steely expressions, we might wonder where our hate (even the smallest traces of hate), where we developed it and why we love who we do.

         But forgive my pondering.  Some of the greatest philosophers of this age are the writers and singers of song.  Sometimes when I hear songs, my mind wanders to places where the songwriters may have intended or maybe I take a side track.

           Love as a drug makes for good metaphor.  I can see how there are times in peoples' lives where it really does seem like love makes the world go 'round.  And I believe it does.  Sadly though, on this merry-go-round of life, there are other horses with names like Hurt, Hate, Sadness. and Loneliness.   Keep riding and reaching for the brass ring.  We all ride more than one of those horses in our lifetime.

           If your life was part of an amusement park, which ride would you be on most often?   As you get to know someone better do you ever find them to be more mystifying as time goes by?   What is your best cure for overcoming disappointment? 



Battle of the Bands Results




Love Is the Drug

        My recent Battle was between two versions of the Roxy Music hit "Love Is the Drug".    I presented a remake by the songwriter Bryan Ferry and a version by the rock group Divinyls.

        For me it started out to be a tough choice--I think both are very good, each for its own special reason.  I dug the horns--especially the saxophones--in the Bryan Ferry version.  After repeated listening I became more inclined to liking the Divinyls version and that's where my vote went.

         The Battle was a true horse race from the start, but in the end Bryan Ferry won by a nose. 


Final Vote Tally

Bryan Ferry       11

Divinyls              10



Happy Thanksgiving!

       A lot of readers will likely be celebrating a special dinner on Thursday of this week, but no matter what:  Always make your dinners special!  After all life is pretty special.  If you don't agree then I would recommend looking for the special things wherever you are.  If you can't seem to find anything special then take it upon yourself to make something or someone special.  That's one reason we have imagination.








Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Love Is The Drug (#BOTB)


The purest truest love is the cure for all of our ills.  Personally, I think I'm addicted to love...

The Great Gatsby Poster

   
       In my Remakes Blogfest post previous to this post I mentioned that my favorite film version of The Great Gatsby is the 2013 release directed by Baz Luhrmann.  The film soundtrack can be rather jarring at first--it was for me--but I began to not only get used to it, but I enjoyed it.  The incongruity of the crazy songs rather set the mood for the setting of the Roaring Twenties when the film takes place.  For my Battle of the Bands this round I pit a song from the Gatsby soundtrack (a remake of an earlier hit rock song) against another rock version of the same song...


Battle of the Bands

Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens each month on the 15th and on some blogs there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle on the 1st of the month.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.

Love Is the Drug

          This song first done by Roxy Music in 1975 was the group's biggest hit.  You surely know it, but if not you can hear the original version here.   Please don't vote on the orignal!  The following are your choices:

Bryan Ferry  "Love Is the Drug"  (2012)

         This version by Ferry is essentially a  twice-over remake since he also sang the original with Roxy Music.  Here he gives the song a hot jazz band sound which made it well suited for the Gatsby soundtrack.






Divinyls  "Love Is the Drug"  (1993)

        This Australian group rocks this song   Their version appeared on the soundtrack of Super Mario Brothers





Time to Vote!

    
    
I think this is a very very tough choice.  Guess I'll have to come up with the version that is my personal favorite after several more listenings.   Do you have a preference between these two choices?   Which version do you like the best?   You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

        Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.


Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

 ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ 

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 


Cherdo on the Flipside 


Winner of this Battle Announced on Monday November 20th

         With Thanksgiving next week I'm going to cut back the voting time which I think will be fine since you've got the weekend to cast your vote.  

         Busy times ahead for me--how about you?   Have you experienced what you've felt to be true pure unshakable love?   Does the use of more contemporary songs in films set in past periods bother you?  

       



Monday, November 13, 2017

The Great Gatsby (Remakes Blogfest)


   It's been said that you can't repeat the past...though of course you can when you remake a movie.  Then you can repeat the past as many times as you remake the movie...



Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh and Heather M. Gardner.----
blog about your favorite remake: movie (or television show into movie and vice versa), song, or book – or all three! Post a YouTube video and links where we can find these treasures. Tell us why THIS remake doesn’t suck!   You can find the list of other participants at either of the hosting sites.





The Great Gatsby

        Surprisingly, for one who had been an English major with a focus on literature when I was in college the first time around, I had never read F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby until 2013 when the most recent remake was released.   I had no particular intention on seeing the film--the novel didn't strike me as interesting nor did the movie.   Later, after the film's release, my wife and I were visiting our daughter in Houston and as I was looking for something to read during my stay there I spied a copy of Gatsby in their bookshelves.  It was a relatively short book so I decided to read the thing that I had thus far avoided for my entire life.  

        Well, I was blown away--one of the best novels I have read.  Upon finishing it was clear to me why The Great Gatsby is considered by many to be one of "The Great American Novels."   In a sense it is the truest American story, a rags to riches parable for the modern age.  The novel captures the spirit of an era and the essence of the romantic longings for the unobtainable that so many of us may have experienced in our own lives at some time or other.  The tragedy is beautifully told by Fitzgerald and begs for cinematic treatment.  After reading the book, I was convinced that I needed to see this celebrated new film version.
         
        In some future post I'll go into what made me so apprehensive about seeing the 2013 version of Gatsby, but I'll add in passing here that it was directed by Baz Luhrmann who also directed the 2001 film Moulin Rouge--yeah, I hated that film, but more on that in a few weeks in a future post.  Despite my feelings about Moulin Rouge, I was set on viewing his interpretation of The Great Gatsby.   At the time I was not aware that it had been interpreted by earlier directors.

The Great Gatsby 1926.jpg
The Great Gatsby (1926)


        
      






         Luhrmann's version blew me away thus luring me to explore whether other versions had been filmed.  I discovered there had been four movie versions over the decades (not counting a made-for-TV version that I have yet to see).   The first was a silent film of which no copies are known to exist any longer so other than viewing the trailer I have not seen that one.   Another version was released in 1949 with Alan Ladd in the role as Gatsby.  In 1974 Robert Redford played the lead in a much bigger production than its predecessors.  Then came the Luhrmann spectacle.

The Great Gatsby Poster
The Great Gatsby (1949)
     















         If the 1949 version were the only one to have been made it would have been a highly credible interpretation and worth a viewing by Gatsby fans.  The acting is fine though the story has been pared down to ninety minutes which does not allow for enough exposition and character development.  This film is more like a summary of the story with a feel that much is missing--and it is.  Nevertheless, Ladd plays the Gatsby role well.   This film is satisfactory, but probably wouldn't be fulfilling enough for modern audiences.  For one thing, it's in black and white and comes across as more of a film noirish experience than the story that it is meant to be.  This version is pretty good, but a bit flat.

The Great Gatsby Poster
The Great Gatsby (1974)


          My wife prefers the sweeping epic version from 1974.  The acting is outstanding and everything about the production is top rate.  Robert Redford does a fine job with his portrayal of the title character.  I've only seen this version once so far, but I would say that it is well worth watching.

The Great Gatsby Poster
The Great Gatsby (2013)


          My favorite is the 2013 version.   All of the acting works well for me.  The sets, the effects, and even the soundtrack are all big, brash, and a lot of fun.  Toby Maguire delivers the most effective portrayal of Nick Carraway (the narrator) of all of the films in my opinion and for me he really made the film.  However, I'd put Leonardo DiCaprio's performance up against any of the Gatsby's who came before him.  Where this version really captures the essence of the book is in its depiction of the decadence of the Jazz Age and the craziness of the world surrounding Gatsby and his elite neighbors.  For repeated viewings Luhrmann's version is the one for me.   It's good stuff that sticks pretty close to the story and spirit of Fitzgerald's novel.   I think Zelda Fitzgerald might have preferred this version as well.

          Now for any Moulin Rouge fans who might take offense at my negative stance on that film,  stay tuned to this blog for my post regarding that Luhrmann nightmare.  I will have some opinionated thoughts to share about it.  That post will come on November 29th directly preceding a related Battle of the Bands of December 1st.   My next Battle of the Bands post will be this Wednesday when I'll be pairing a song from Luhrmann's Gatsby soundtrack with an earlier version of the song.  Hope you'll join me for that.

         And by the way, regarding the versions of The Great Gatsby that I've discussed in this post, they are all relatively widely available so finding them would likely be little problem.   I bought the 1949 and 1974 versions through Amazon while I found the 2013 version with lots of bonus features at my local Walmart for something like seven bucks--a real steal.

         Would you consider The Great Gatsby to be one of America's greatest novels?     If you've seen any of the Gatsby films which was your favorite (if you liked any of them)?   What are some of your favorite film remakes?