On the Sound of Music Live!, Sort Of

I must confess that I only caught the last 15 minutes of last Thursday’s live broadcast. But let me tell you that I enjoyed reading various comments on Facebook about the production. Some people tore Carrie Underwood and the overall production apart, but others adamantly defended her and presented reasons why you shouldn’t expect a reproduction of the movie, but a unique experience that stands on its own, much like if you had gone to a playhouse on Broadway.

I mean, when I first heard that Carrie Underwood would be playing Maria, I thought, well, she doesn’t have any acting/theater experience, so it should be interesting, but I bet she’ll sound great. I mean, I really like Carrie Underwood. I love her discipline both with her voice training and exercise routine; I love that she went to college; I love how she can sing “How Great Thou Art” and make me cry. And I love that she ventured into Broadway, because why not see if you can transfer sheer stage presence from a live music concert to something more tempered like a live Broadway musical? For three hours?

Look at the casting. Cast someone purely Broadway as Maria, and you’ll attract the Broadway buffs, but the Broadway buffs would have gone to Broadway and paid for a show anyway. But with Carrie on LIVE television, you also attract the country buffs (and also a fair number of haters). And with Steven Moyer, you attract the vampire buffs. And with Audra McDonald, if there’s anything that’s right with the world, you attract everyone.

I’m so sad I missed her.

My first encounter with Audra was when I first watched the movie Wit. This was a movie adapted from a stage production, but mostly, it’s a movie staged as a play with a camera in front of it. Audra plays a compassionate nurse as a foil to both Emma Thompson’s and Christopher Lloyd’s stern academic dispositions. The first thing I thought when I saw her was, “She’s so perfect.” Then I looked her up on the mighty internet and found out about her theater experience and parts she’s played on television.

Then a few years ago, I found out she was coming to the Hale Center Theater in Orem to perform 110 in the Shade and that she’d give a master class to theater students at BYU. Why would she come to Utah? I mean, Utah’s increasingly becoming a cultural arts landscape, but then I found out she’d be marrying this guy:

I’ve actually never seen this movie. I guess I’m remiss in my research.

Audra McDonald’s practically almost a non-practicing Mormon. What a thrill!

Then one day in October around the government shutdown I was watching the Colbert Report, and Stephen Colbert announced that he’d be officiating a wedding originally planned to take place in Monticello, but the national landmark was closed. So he invited the couple and the wedding party to his studio, and since he’s an ordained minister, he united the eager couple on television. A couple of guests performed, including Audra McDonald. She appears in this video around 4:35:

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/429522/october-03-2013/the-2013-government-shutdown-wedding-of-the-century-pt–2?xrs=share_copy

Reilly watched this with me, and while he wasn’t as familiar with Audra as I was (as if we’re best friends or something), when he heard her sing “White Wedding,” he had an immense newfound respect for her.  Who wouldn’t?

Wit was also where my love for Emma Thompson increased. And this movie is where I discovered composer Arvo Pärt. If you don’t know either of these artists, you should. And if you don’t know about the movie, please fix that.

So you can imagine how different my 15-minute experience with the Sound of Music Live! was than watching the original movie with Julie Andrews. The acting wasn’t great, but I still liked the songs. The associations with Carrie and Audra and Wit and Arvo Pärt and all the accompanying awesome feelings made me experience this live television event differently than if I had expected a mere live remake of everyone’s movie normalform.

Sound Education

I mentioned before that as my belly has expanded my belly button has also increased in size. Because I often have to find a purpose in everything that happens, I surmised that the bigger belly button might also be used for feeding Baby.

My belly button used to look like this, more like a slot-shaped abyss. Things like lint and crumbs would be lost in there forever:

belly00a

Now my belly button looks closer to this, which makes it so much easier to clean:

belly01a

Here are some food items I’ve considered giving to Baby through my belly button. My first idea was a carrot, since that seemed most likely to fit:

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Then I also thought about Red Vines, since they are also a skinny food:

belly03

 

I also wondered how junk food like French fries (since Red Vines aren’t really junk food) would affect Baby:

belly04

Then I started thinking about protein and how important it is to Baby’s development. I thought about how much Baby might appreciate a steak:

belly05

But then again, Baby might like something a little lighter:

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As you can see, my new belly button could really come in handy.

The other night I discovered another way to help Baby. It was around 2 or 3 am, and I had some trouble getting to sleep. I was getting frustrated and thinking of ways to fall asleep, and I decided to listen to some music on my Kindle. When it’s late at night and Reilly’s already sleeping, I usually plug in some earphones into the Kindle and watch Netflix or Hulu or listen to music.

Up to this moment, Baby had only listened to music from the regular speakers from a regular stereo system. And the stereo was never up close. Maybe the late hour caused some delirium, but it occurred to me that I could use my earphones so that Baby could listen to music with me. I decided to try sharing my earbuds with baby:

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I put one earbud in my ear, and the other earbud went into my belly button. Baby and I listened to music for about an hour. Of course I made sure to keep the volume low.

Baby seemed to like certain types of French music, like Carla Bruni’s “Quelqu’un m’a dit”:

belly08a

She didn’t like “Comme des infants” by Coeur de Pirate:

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And she seemed to hate “Satellite” by Indochine:

belly10a

But Baby seemed to calm down while listening to classical music, such as violin concertos performed by Hilary Hahn. And the last song I played before going to sleep was Patty Griffin’s “Heavenly Day,” which we both agree on:

belly11a

I can’t wait to see what else Baby likes to listen to.

Richard Marx Loves Orem, Utah

Lots of great acts come to Utah. Just this past weekend, James Taylor performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Utah Symphony Orchestra. This summer’s Twilight Concert Series welcomed bands like The National, Grizzly Bear, Ludacris, and MGMT. All those shows were up in Salt Lake City, and I didn’t go. But when I saw that Richard Marx was performing in Orem, mere minutes from where I live, I felt strongly about going.

On August 28, Reilly and I happened to drive by the Scera Theater where the marquis listed Richard Marx performing on August 29. We agreed that that would be a fun concert, and I looked up ticket prices that night when we got home. It looked like all the reserved seating were filled, but general admission tickets were still available. Since I’ve been in a nostalgic mood this year, I decided to wait until the next morning to see if I still wanted to go. I often don’t make a lot of spontaneous decisions.

The next morning, I bought two tickets, and I texted Reilly our plans for that night.

Before the concert, we went to dinner then headed over to the Scera complex. The concert was outdoors at the Scera Shell, which reminds me of a bigger version of Central Park Summerstage but a smaller version of Usana Amphitheatre.

The evening offered cooling air and clear skies as well as mountain views behind the stage. The night couldn’t have been more perfect.

Richard Marx played all the songs. The hits. He told funny stories that went with the songs. He charmed and delighted us. He even got the audience to sing “Happy Birthday” to an audience member’s wife. He sang new songs, but only a few, because he said he goes to concerts, too, and he knows that we want to hear all his old stuff from when he had an awesome mullet. Other than the new songs, I sang along (or moved my mouth, because I’m sure singing along the whole time would have annoyed Reilly) to everything else.

He sang songs he wrote for/with Keith Urban and ‘NSync. He talked about how he writes songs as his main job (giving concerts is his “fun” job), and how fortunate he’s been to work within different genres. I admit that sounds like a pretty cool job.

Reilly likes this picture of Richard Marx:

Richard Marx jams

Here’s a video of his final encore song, “Right Here Waiting.” It’s 7:00 minutes long. First, I apologize for the shaky camera. I was sitting on the ground and using my knees as a tripod. Then I’d get uncomfortable and try to shift my weight. 1:50 gets bad.  There’s also a point around 2:45 where it looks like I’m just waving the camera around for at least 30 seconds. If you get motion sick, you may want to look away. But at least he still sounds good. Second, I’m sorry that you can totally hear me singing along. Also, his striped shirt and the stage lighting wash out his face and make him look like a French mime. That is not my fault, so I can’t apologize for that.

Here’s a selfie video of Richard Marx thanking Orem for a good concert. He may as well have been talking to me directly. Now he’s talking to you.

That was a really fun concert. I’m glad we decided to go at the last minute in late August 2013, so that we could travel back to those memorable minutes from the ’80s and ’90s and just sway and smile and sing along.

Links about the 1990s to Count Down to the Bon Jovi Concert in One Week

I don’t even remember when or where I heard about the concert. Months ago. It was meant to be; I had to go.

  • Wednesday, April 17
  • 7pm
  • Energy Solutions Arena
  • Salt Lake City, Utah

Some friends and I bought tickets, and all that’s left is for us to get mullets.

They probably think I’m not serious. I don’t understand how they could think that.

The ’90s meant junior high and high school. Starting college. Making friends faster than I normally did. Weird college experiences. Not the best fashion there ever was. I loved everything about that time. I remember hearing all about the Crying Game before Trig/Analyt in Ms. Marlette’s classroom. Because of that experience I have never felt the need to watch the movie.

It’s so great that I have maintained most of my ’90s friendships. Just last week at the grocery store I ran into a freshman floormate from BYU. I still keep up with friends from my hometown where I graduated from high school. Those folks are even more beautiful and passionate versions of themselves. The decade and our gang helped each other evolve. world now may be so very full of suck, but we’re still doing our best.

I mean, fine. We listened to artists like Counting Crows, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, The Offspring, Sting, Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories, Radiohead, and R.E.M., but hello? We also listened to Boyz 2 Men, Madonna, Ace of Base, Wilson Phillips, and Bon Jovi. Garth Brooks. Martina McBride. Fresh Prince. All the once embarrassing stuff that holds so much nostalgic value for me now. I listened to the soft rock my mom loved. I got into a lot of oldies developed an affinity for live jazz and classical. The group I grew up with soaked it all up.

To commemorate next week’s event, I’ve looked up a few links to get people reminiscing about the ’90s.

The Most Important TV Couples from the ’90s

What ’90s Kids Can Relate To

I Hate When Dawson Cries about First World Problems

On a More Serious Note. Thanks Again, Onion

So I can’t even begin to tell you how fun this concert will be. Sure, Bon Jovi has a new record and is on tour to promote it. But he definitely knows that everyone wants him to sing his old stuff.

I wonder if he misses it.

Friday Hodgepodge

I didn’t get home until late, so this post will be quite short. You’ll forgive me, I can tell.

Three things tonight, then I’m off to bed.

1. So, we were at In -N- Out this evening, and Reilly and I ordered our cheeseburgers “animal style.” I wondered if anyone has tried ordering their burgers “Gangnam Style.” What would that mean, exactly? Would you get your burger with a mini Psy doll? Would the song blare through the speakers and the cashiers do the famous dance? Could some try ordering this way and let me know how it goes?

2. Have I mentioned that my brother-in-law is in a band called Book on Tapeworm? They had a slumber party concert tonight, and it was awesome. They were also on a radio show called Radiowest. It’s cool hearing people you know on the radio. It’s especially cool hearing all of a personality in a voice: in sentences, in mumbles, in single syllables and hesitations. Listening to both shows was a lot of fun.

Seriously, though, buy their debut album. You won’t regret it. (And while you’re on that page, watch that awesome video again.)

And listen to yesterday’s radio show. They played live in the studio, and you won’t find much difference in sound with the recorded album. They’re that awesome.

3. I have not cried more reading any other blog than Miggy’s. (That’s her internet handle. The family members she writes about get nicknames, too.) Today’s post was incredibly touching. I attended the same LDS ward in NYC with the author for a couple of years. Not only is Miggy really creative and artsy (she makes her home decor, makes clothes, transforms cute shoes to even cuter shoes, paints, etc.), she’s also a very cool mom with a terrific perspective on life because of the experiences she’s been given. If you don’t end up regularly following the blog, at least read the one post. It made my day.

The Review, As Promised

I finally got around to writing the review about last week’s concert with the Utah Symphony and Hilary Hahn.

The post is live over at The Glass. While you’re there, take a nice, long look at Chris McGovern’s site. He has gotten to interview some serious names in the classical/ contemporary classical/just plain awesome music circuit.

Enjoy!

I Saw Hilary Hahn Tonight

A review of the concert with the Utah Symphony at the de Jong Concert Hall is coming soon. I’ll be a guest reviewer over at my friend’s music and interview blog, The Glass.

In the meantime, a few pictures:

Here is Hilary Hahn’s autograph:

Here I am talking to Hilary Hahn. She appears to be listening intently:

Here is Hilary Hahn laughing at something I said. Believe it or not, I made her laugh on purpose. This is what happens when you put two charming people near each other:

YOU GUYS.

She was so wonderful and cool, and of course charming, and I was SO starstruck.

More to come.

Book on Tapeworm Was Here

This is what happens when I bring a camera. There doesn’t have to be as many burdensome words.

Last night, I went to an album release show of a band called Book on Tapeworm. Here they are:

The percussionist here is my husband’s brother:

Here was their real-life, life-size set last night at the Velour. As you can see, the stage quite resembles the band’s CD case:

Here’s Gavin working his magic. He came all the way back from grad school in Illinois for this show. This guy is legit:

So, if the set looks surreal, if the CD packaging is styled after their set, you can expect to hear music that’s ethereal and transcendent and not harsh and grating and makes you feel like gagging yourself.

If you’re into well-written songs, tight harmonies and angelic voices; if you like thoughtful music that truly reflects how serious and professional and skilled the musicians are; if you appreciate the shrinks, swells, and swings of emotion in music that makes you sigh with longing or nostalgia; and if you want the mystery and magic of the morning mists meandering groves and chaparrals, then you’ll love this album.

If you don’t like any of that stuff, I can accurately conclude that you’re pretty stupid.

Also, these folks are incredibly nice and insufferably cool people. None of the band members are likely to become supreme jerks when they become rich and famous.

Check them out, like them. Buy their stuff. Watch them:

Book on Tape Worm – Shadow Puppets from Jason Moffat on Vimeo.

They’re amazing.

Into the Woods, It Wouldn’t Stop Raining

Even for Amy Adams and Glenn Close. OR Reilly’s birthday. But probably because it was a Sunday, and we had already ridden bikes down and up the Hudson River greenway and had lunch at Piper’s Kilt with my friend Adam. Which, Adam is close enough to Amy Adams, who is definitely a grand human talisman for good fortune. But at least we walked into the church after the bikeride, and we even had a good conversation with some friends in the foyer. The man I’ve known for four years now; his wife I met for the first time, which is different than the first time he met her, which was after he proposed to her. That’s a good story. Anyway, we should have known from the clouds it was going to rain. But it’s hard to know for sure what clouds mean anymore. I just knew the clouds kept our ride cool and shaded. No blinky brightness. Except that Reilly looks squinty in these pictures. Oh, well.

I mean, the air was humid that evening, and we were standing in line, waiting for the doors to open so that we could take our seats. It was already sprinkling once we sat down. I put a plastic bag over my head, and Reilly had his hat on. We eavesdropped on chatter about the forecast guessing that the rain would end by 8:30, which would only have delayed the show 30 minutes. We could wait that long. Plus, the nice people sitting behind us held their golf umbrella over us.

The stage lights shone on the set that looked like a giant tree house, but some of the set was on the ground and more spread out than Swiss Family Robinson, and still parts of it reached at least twenty feet into the air. The whole thing looked slippery. We talked about whether Amy Adams would risk slipping on an upper floor. We wondered about Glenn Close. We didn’t even know that she wasn’t really in the play, but her voice was featured as the Giant’s.

The stage lights shone through sloppy-yet-sleeting drops of rain, which wasn’t letting up. Sort of, but not. One of the ushers who said the time was 8:15 also said he would have already “called it.” This same usher saw a camera flash go off near and he bounded up the stairs to the source of the crime and asked the camera’s owner to delete any pictures that were taken because no photography whatsoever is not allowed in Delacorte Theater so he’ll have to check the camera to make sure the pictures were deleted, thanks kindly. Ushers wore ponchos. Some spectators wore ponchos, but some held umbrellas. We still hoped for a Sunday miracle, in that we weren’t at all prepared for rain, but it seemed we weren’t getting anything even close. Not even Glenn.

Finally at 8:30, they declared the show rained out. We walked westward in the 70s to Broadway and then south toward Columbus Circle. We thought about getting Reilly a McDonald’s ice cream cone or something similar for his birthday, but since Amy Adams the harbinger of good fortune did not appear, the McDonald’s ice cream machine was broken. Undeterred in our mission to find a dry place to have hot chocolate and some birthday dessert, we found a little cafe where we both had hot chocolate, I had a big chocolate chip cookie, and Reilly had a slice of of chocolate cake.

At least it was a summer rain, and by the time we left the cute little dessert place, it was only sprinkling, which we were grateful for. Mostly dry, and high on chocolate onReilly’s birthday, we walked the rest of the way to Columbus Circle.

We did get our tickets switched for Tuesday night, though. Which somehow meant clear skies and perfect weather. Even though the wolf/Cinderella’s prince is a total perv (as the original tale of Red Riding Hood suggests), Glenn Close meets her death as a vengeful giant and Amy Adams died leaving her baker husband alone, all the acting and singing was delightful, the props were clever and human, and that story actually sort of does end happily ever after.

And so does this one.

Bruce Dickinson Makes Fun of Utah’s Diluted Beer

This is a summer of firsts. Listening to heavy metal on the radio or the computer or CDs never really appealed to me. Loud, screamy, cacophonous: not my idea of great music. I’ve always respected people’s preferences, but I’ve never made an effort to understand why some people love Iron Maiden so much.

Usana Arena, Wednesday August 1, 2012. This concert supported my love for live music, but it also speaks to production quality and the expert performers who are Iron Maiden. Their songs are actually quite catchy. The band is rather old (the living ones who haven’t overdosed [j/k]), and they still riff (mostly) flawless solos and jump around the stage. Their mascot, Eddie, accompanies them on tour in his many versions and still awes and scares the hell out of fans. Well, at least I was scared.

Bruce Dickinson kept saying in his British accent, “SCREAM for me, Salt Lake City!” and the audience would go wild. He mused on Utah’s weak alcoholic beverages, and he expressed that if he had a choice of being stoned from pot or a little bit lit from a few beers, he’d definitely want to be drunk. Which was his way of questioning the audience’s choice to drink weak beer and smoke doobies.

I get what he means though. At this kind of concert, I’d rather have the audience jumping up and down and singing along and not quiet, contemplative, and mellow. The audience was perfect, though. They pumped their fists to the beat, they screamed along. They were even impatient and yelled for music during the only time Bruce Dickinson told a story, which actually annoyed me because I wanted to hear the story. Who doesn’t love stories? Marginally buzzed Iron Maiden fans, that’s who.

At the introduction of the band, Bruce Dickinson told us that Nicko McBrain, their drummer, predates the Book of Mormon. I believe in and have firm testimony of that fact.

Having actual seats for the concert made the experience better for me, because I could sit down whenever my feet got tired, because, although the show was great, I didn’t have the same chemical distractions and enhancers as my fellow audience members. However, I couldn’t put my seat down all the way because the guy sitting next to me did not have small bones, but big arms and big tattoos coming out of his big muscle shirt, and he was SLEEPING during part of the show. Dark, flowing mullet and deep breathing; peaceful, friendly face, like Jabba the Hut’s in a good mood. I didn’t want to disturb him.

I understood him, though, even as much as I understand much better now (but not completely) the life and soul of Iron Maiden fans. What a seriously fun show.

More pictures here.