Actual Cannibal Shia LaBeouf

Today’s goofiness.

The original version of this song came out in 2012.  Now the artist, Rob Cantor, w/the help of  the West Los Angeles Children’s Choir, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, the Argus Quartet, and a special guest, has released a full-fledged video.

It may be just a tad over the top.

2001 Remastered

It’s the movie that’s been remastered, not the year itself, unfortunately.

I just mentioned 2001: A Space Odyssey a couple of days ago, and now I’ve discovered that the British Film Institute is presenting a digitally restored release of the movie as part of its Days of Fear and Wonder celebration.  And ahead of the re-release, the BFI and Warner Bros. have produced a new trailer, which Stanley Kubrick’s executive producer, Jan Harlan, calls “the best trailer for this film I have ever seen!”

It’s loaded w/spoilers, but, since the movie is almost 50 years old, that doesn’t matter, does it?   If you haven’t seen 2001 by now, you should really consider what you’re doing w/your life.

The bad news:    The movie will premier at the Leeds International Film Festival on 18 November 2014, then go into limited release on giant screens throughout the UK and Ireland on 28 November 2014.   No US release has been announced.

The good news:   We’re bound to get it eventually.

Sweeney Todd in Concert at Lincoln Center

Here are the first five minutes of the New York Philharmonic’s concert presentation of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, w/Emma Thompson, Bryn Terfel, and Audra McDonald.

I first saw Sweeney at the Kennedy Center on its post-Broadway tour, w/Angela Lansbury as Mrs Lovett.   She won a Tony for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for originating the role on Broadway, and when PBS broadcast a taped version, it got her an Emmy nomination as well.

I’ve seen more than half a dozen revivals of Sweeney since then, but that first time was memorable for more than just the magnificent theatrical experience.  The week I saw Sweeney marked the end of a pretty unhappy time in my life, when I  finally broke out of a long period of depression and self-imposed isolation.  I came out of it in just about the best way I can imagine:  Within a few days, I saw not only  this masterpiece, but also Bruce Springsteen, live at the Capital Center.  Springsteen was at his peak, playing four-hour concerts that exhausted his worshipful audience.

So I experienced two monumental 20th Century cultural high points in a single week.


PBS broadcasted the full Lincoln Center performance, and someone has posted it to YouTube.

21st Century Teens Meet Fashions of the 1980s

This made me smile.  The 1980s was a great decade for music.  As for 80s fashion…well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Fashion moves in cycles.  What’s trendy becomes unfashionable, then silly, then retro, then fashionable again.  From the reactions in the video, we may be about to see the return of parachute pants and Members Only jackets.

The Manchurian Baritone?

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This could be interesting.

Minnesota Opera, which has an enviable history of staging both new works and operas outside the usual repertoire, will present a new opera based on Richard Condon’s novel, The Manchurian Candidate.  The opera will be composed by Kevin Puts, w/a libretto by Mark Campbell.  This is the same team that won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music, for Silent Night, which Minnesota Opera also commissioned and produced.

I’m not an opera aficionado—no attention span, among other things—but I loved the hilarious Condon book, and the original 1962 film version of The Manchurian Candidate is on my Top Ten Movies Ever list.  I might just head for Minneapolis when the show opens in March.

Here’s a long (20 minute) Behind the Scenes video from the people involved in presenting The Manchurian Candidate:

Sunday Morning — Victoriana of the Week

Flaming June 2

“Flaming June”, by Sir Frederic Leighton

I posted a note last Spring about the history of Sir Frederic Leighton’s “Flaming June”, and my visit to Lord Leighton’s Holland Park house.   Now comes word that the masterpiece will be visiting the US next summer.

The Museo de Arte de Ponce in Ponce, Puerto Rico has agreed to lend “Flaming June” to the Frick Collection, in New York City, where it will be on display from 9 June 2015 to 8 September 2015.

“Flaming June” was last seen in the US in 1997, as part of an exhibition at the National Gallery of Art entitled “The Victorians:  British Painting in the Reign of Queen Victoria, 1837-1901″.  For me, the show was quite literally life-changing.  I visited it more than half a dozen times, and it completely changed the way I thought about art.  It was then that I fell in love w/the Pre-Raphaelites.