TA Mixtape / Happy Birthday USA: Explosions in the Sky

Ooh! Aah!

There was no question, we were GOING to see fireworks on the 4th of July.

It was 8:45pm on Sunday, and 10 of us were sprawled around my boyfriend’s living room having just finished Wet Hot American Summer. We had been drinking, eating and generally making merry since 2pm and were all in various states of food coma/nap.  Only one thing would get us all mobilized, even at the very last minute: fireworks.  There was no real decision made to go, it just was – a mad dash to all settle on a place, piling into cars and then in just 15 minutes or so we were there.  Even with 5 cars – some coming from other directions – we managed to find each other atop a winding hill in some park off Duquesne with much of the population of Culver City.

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TV / Your Music in Media Guide to the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards

The nominations for the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards were announced yesterday and were – let’s face it – fairly predictable, and sorely lacking in noms for Community.  Check out the nominees in the music categories below – including some streaming clips and tracks where I could get ‘em.  Watch the broadcast on Sunday Aug 29 8pm ET / 5pm PT to see who wins…

Outstanding Composition for A Miniseries, Movie Or A Special (Original Dramatic Score)

The Pacific (Part 10) – Music by Blake Neely, Geoff Zanelli and Hans Zimmer (HBO)

When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story (Hallmark Hall Of Fame Presentation) – Music by Lawrence Shragge (CBS)

Temple GrandinMusic by Alex Wurman (HBO)

You Don’t Know Jack – Music by Marcelo Zarvos (HBO)

Blessed Is The Match – Music by Todd Boekelheide (PBS)

Georgia O’Keeffe – Music by Jeff Beal (Lifetime)

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Music + Film / The Kinks "Schoolboys in Disgrace" as a Movie Musical

Seems like it’s pretty often these days to see albums turned into stage musicals, and/or stage musicals turned into musical movies.  It’s less often the pattern jumps from album to musical movie, but it someone had to do it.  And that someone is this guy:

And by that I mean Bobcat Goldthwaite, set to write and direct Schoolboys in Disgrace based on The Kinks 1976 LP of the same name – an album without any hit singles that peaked at No. 45 on the Billboard 200 when it was released.  No classic song for us to spend the entire movie waiting to hear?  BLASPHEMY.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Goldthwaite is quoted:

Schoolboys in Disgrace is a story that any kid who has felt that they are not being treated fairly can relate to, all set to some of the greatest rock songs you’ll ever hear…It’s the genesis story of a supervillain set to music. It’s the story of the world’s most charming criminal and a realistic high school musical for all the kids who hate sugary, sweet, unrealistic high school musicals.”

…which was apparently pretty much how he won over Ray Davies – Kinks frontman and writer of all the songs on the album – as well as an executive producer of the movie.  From Goldthwaite’s Guest DJ Set on KCRW last October before the project was confirmed:

“Ray was asking, “Well, who would you make this movie for, if you made a musical of Schoolboys in Disgrace? And I said, “I would make this movie for all the kids who f**king hate High School Musical.” And then I actually saw him smile a little bit.”

Now as much as I not-so-secretly love High School Musical, that’s an attitude  I can get behind.  Honestly though, my first question when I heard about this was, “The Kinks know about this, right?”  I mean, it makes immediate sense that the ABBA folks would be like, “YAY MUSICAL THEATRE!” but a seminal band out of the 1960’s British Invasion?  I have to admit my knowledge of The Kinks was limited to one album on vinyl and a love for the use of “Village Green Preservation Society” in Hot Fuzz.  So I did some reading.

It turns out storytelling through music is a trademark of their style – Davies created a reputation for concept albums, including Schoolboys in Disgrace (actually fashioned as a prequel to their earlier albums  Preservation Act 1 and Preservation Act 2).  Check out the album’s liner notes:

Once upon a time there was a naughty little schoolboy. He and his gang were always playing tricks on the teachers and bullying other children in the school. One day he got himself into very serious trouble with a naughty schoolgirl and he was sent to the Headmaster who decided to disgrace the naughty boy and his gang in front of the whole school.
After this punishment the boy turned into a hard and bitter character. Perhaps it was not the punishment that changed him but the fact that he realised people in authority would always be there to kick him down and the Establishment would always put him in his place. He knew that he could not change the past but he vowed that in the future he would always get what he wanted. The naughty little boy grew up… into Mr. Flash.  (via BroadwayWorld.com)

So adding a book to the music doesn’t really seem that far off.  Other than Davies producers include: duo Howard Gertler and Tim Perell (Last Chance Harvey, World’s Greatest Dad – another Goldthwaite directed flick), Sarah de Sa Rego and Andrew D. Tenenbaum.  The project is currently in development.  No release date is set.

Stage to screen adaptations most often fail because filmmakers get too attached to the original production.  Staging is flat, clunky and well – too theatrical for the medium.  Without any middle ground however, I have to say I’m interested to see how the album to screen translation works out.

Now, let’s please hope this dies.

The Kinks “The Hard Way” from Schoolboys in Disgrace
The Kinks – The Hard Way by tadpole of july

Film / Soundtrack Review / The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Photo credit: Summit Entertainment

I know, I know. This soundtrack was the talk of the town weeks ago. Florence!  Muse!  Vampire Weekend!  It’s old news. We’re past it. Why review it now?

Well, it’s one thing to put together an awesome compilation, but it’s a much harder task to ensure so many stand out tracks fit in the fabric of the movie – a cheesy, tweeny blockbuster vampire movie, nonetheless. To be perfectly honest, I sometimes think that the great Alexandra Patsavas – while brilliant and talented and with a knack for finding great undiscovered tunes – sometimes takes me out of the story going “Oooh! Miike Snow!” for a 4 second use.  At the very end of the first Twilight movie, when Linkin Park launched us into the end credits I think I may have groaned out loud.

That said, – Eclipse was a breath of fresh air.  Patsavas nails it.  The songs blend in when they’re supposed to, and enhance key moments that need some extra oomph.  It’s still a cheesy, tweeny vampire movie (Taylor Lautner as Jacob says to Robert Pattinson’s Edward Cullen at one point: “I mean let’s face it, I am hotter than you” cue theatre bursting into applause), but this time the music is what gives it – at least some – street cred.

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Happy Birthday USA: Oh Say Can You See…

Summer is the time for anthems. Just check out this article on Strangers In Stereo all about it. One very important anthem – and one that is highly celebrated in the summer – was missing from that list though: the national anthem. That and the pledge of allegiance (for everyone still in grade school) are the only ways we honor our nation year round. With our nation’s birthday coming up this weekend, however, I started thinking to myself – what actually makes an anthem?

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