29 March 2013

It's Good Friday

“Today is Friday”

Ernest Hemingway, Men Without Women (1927)

Three Roman soldiers are in a drinking-place at eleven o’clock at night. There are barrels around the wall. Behind the wooden counter is a Hebrew wine-seller. The three Roman soldiers are a little cock-eyed.

1st Roman SoldierYou tried the red?

2d Soldier—No, I ain’t tried it.

1st Soldier—You better try it.

2d Soldier—
All right, George, we’ll have a round of the red.

Hebrew Wine-seller—Here you are, gentlemen. You’ll like that. [He sets down an earthenware pitcher that he has filled from one of the casks.] That’s a nice little wine.

1st Soldier—
Have a drink of it yourself. [He turns to the third Roman soldier who is leaning on a barrel.] What’s the matter with you?

3d Roman Soldier—
I got a gut-ache.

2d Soldier—
You’ve been drinking water.

1st Soldier—
Try some of the red.

3d Soldier—I can’t drink the damn stuff. It makes my gut sour.

1st Soldier—You been out here too long.

3d Soldier—Hell don’t I know it?

1st Soldier—
Say, George, can’t you give this gentleman something to fix up his stomach?

Hebrew Wine-seller—
I got it right here.

[The third Roman soldier tastes the cup that the wine-seller has mixed for him.]

3d Soldier—
Hey, what you put in that, camel chips?

Wine-seller—You drink that right down, Lootenant. That’ll fix you up right.

3d Soldier—Well, I couldn’t feel any worse.

1st Soldier—Take a chance on it. George fixed me up fine the other day.

Wine-seller—You were in bad shape, Lootenant. I know what fixes up a bad stomach.

[The third Roman soldier drinks the cup down.]

3d Roman Soldier—
Jesus Christ. [He makes a face.]

2d Soldier—
That false alarm!

1st Soldier—
Oh, I don’t know. He was pretty good in there today.

2d Soldier—
Why didn’t he come down off the cross?

1st Soldier—
He didn’t want to come down off the cross. That’s not his play.

2d Soldier—
Show me a guy that doesn’t want to come down off the cross.

1st Soldier—
Aw, hell, you don’t know anything about it. Ask George there. Did he want to come down off the cross, George?

I’ll tell you, gentlemen, I wasn’t out there. It’s a thing I haven’t taken any interest in.

2d Soldier—Listen, I seen a lot of them—here and plenty of other places. Any time you show me one that doesn’t want to get down off the cross when the time comes—
when the time comes, I mean—I’ll climb right up with him.

1st Soldier—
I thought he was pretty good in there today.

3d Soldier—
He was all right.

2d Roman Soldier—
You guys don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m not saying whether he was good or not. What I mean is, when the time comes. When they first start nailing him, there isn’t none of them wouldn’t stop it if they could.

1st Soldier—Didn’t you follow it, George?

Wine-seller—No, I didn’t take any interest in it, Lootenant

1st Soldier—I was surprised how he acted.

3d Soldier—
The part I don’t like is the nailing them on. You know, that must get to you pretty bad.

2d Soldier—
It isn’t that that’s so bad, as when they first lift ’em up. [He makes a lifting gesture with his two palms together.] When the weight starts to pull on ’em. That’s when it gets ’em.

3d Roman Soldier—It takes some of them pretty bad.

1st Soldier—
Ain’t I seen ’em? I seen plenty of them. I tell you, he was pretty good in there today.

[The second Roman soldier smiles at the Hebrew wine-seller.]

2d Soldier—
You’re a regular Christer, big boy.

1st Soldier—Sure, go on and kid him. But listen while I tell you something. He was pretty good in there today.

2d Soldier—What about some more wine?

[The wine-seller looks up expectantly. The third Roman soldier is sitting with his head down. He does not look well.]

3d Soldier—
I don’t want any more.

2d Soldier—Just for two, George.

[The wine-seller puts out a pitcher of wine, a size smaller than the last one.

He leans forward on the wooden counter.]

1st Roman Soldier—
You see his girl?

2d Soldier—Wasn’t I standing right by her?

1st Soldier—She’s a nice-looker.

2d Soldier—I knew her before he did. [He winks at the wine-seller.

1st Soldier—I used to see her around the town.

2d Soldier—She used to have a lot of stuff. He never brought her no good luck.

1st Soldier—Oh, he ain’t lucky. But he looked pretty good to me in there today.

2d Soldier—
What become of his gang?

1st Soldier—
Oh, they faded out. Just the women stuck by him.

2d Roman Soldier—
They were a pretty yellow crowd. When they seen him go up there they didn’t want any of it.

1st Soldier—The women stuck all right.

2d Soldier—Sure, they stuck all right.

1st Roman Soldier—
You see me slip the old spear into him?

2d Roman Soldier—
You’ll get into trouble doing that some day.

1st Soldier—
It was the least I could do for him. I’ll tell you he looked pretty good to me in there today.

Hebrew Wine-seller—Gentlemen, you know I got to close.

1st Roman Soldier—
We’ll have one more round.

2d Roman Soldier—
What’s the use? This stuff don’t get you anywhere. Come on, let’s go.

1st Soldier—Just another round.

3d Roman Soldier—[Getting up from the barrel.] No, come on. Let’s go. I feel like hell tonight.

1st Soldier—Just one more.

2d Soldier—No, come on. We’re going to go. Good-night, George. Put it on the bill.

Good-night, gentlemen. [He looks a little worried.] You couldn’t let me have a little something on account, Lootenant?

2d Roman Soldier—
What the hell, George! Wednesday’s payday.

Wine-seller—It’s all right, Lootenant. Good-night, gentlemen.

[The three Roman soldiers go out the door into the street.]

[Outside in the street.]

2d Roman Soldier—
George is a kike just like all the rest of them.

1st Roman Soldier—Oh, George is a nice fella.

2d Soldier—Everybody’s a nice fella to you tonight

3d Roman Soldier—Come on, let’s go up to the barracks. I feel like hell tonight.

2d Soldier—You been out here too long.

3d Roman Soldier—No, it ain’t just that. I feel like hell.

2d Soldier—
You been out here too long. That’s all.


26 March 2013

Top 10 Musical Highlights from Playlist of College Road Trip with Older Daughter


10.  The Statue of Liberty at sea in Billy Joel and Paul Simon

9.  "...disease’s venereal" (John Wesley Harding, "Captain Courageous")

8.  Suggesting everything from Joni Mitchell to Chicago to Cecilia Bartoli as possible sources for a song for NBHS's Music Maynia

7.  Singing the background breezes for Dylan's "Caribbean Wind"

6.  Realizing Tim Rice's Aida is just Tim Rice's Jesus Christ Superstar

5.  Burning churches in Billy Joel and Paul Simon

4.  The point toward the end of "Save the People"when the entire company of Godspell joins in

3.  Stating with assurance that Bookends is the best Simon and Garfunkel album

2.  Singing the lyrics of the B-52s' "Love Shack" to their "Channel Z" without missing a beat since it's the same song

1.  Remembering my introducing her to The Lovin Spoonful's "Rain on the Roof" one day on a ride into Holmes Elementary School so many years ago!



21 March 2013

"And people throw the Chiffons in my face?!", says George Harrison in disbelief.

So which is the more egregious rip-off:

Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" of Madonna's "Express Yourself"


Bruno Mars' "Locked out of Heaven" of the Police's "Message in a Bottle"?

18 March 2013

17 March 2013

Considering one's legacy...

...can be an interesting activity.

The question arose as I read the various descriptions of the lithographs, etc, in the Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at the New Britain Museum this past Saturday afternoon.  The descriptions include mentions of any number of people who inhabited/frequented Montmartre and whom HTL memorialized in his art. 

Given the brevity that such art exhibit blurbs demand, of course, a person needs to be summed up in, usually, a sentence at most. 

In one, an actor is described as "known for his good looks and elegant dress." 

That, I thought, would be a great way to be remembered a century from now!

But later in my wanderings I found one that is more likely to approximate my own:

[He] had a round face and seemed to have a limited intellect.

15 March 2013

TODAY at 2:00 PM at CCSU

Movie #2 in the REEL Civil War Film Series

Free and open to the public!

Torp Theatre in Davidson Hall, sponsored by the CCSU Alumni Association

14 March 2013

But don't get me started on that awful song "Key Largo" (a review of "Play It Again, Sam")

I have a long-standing love of Woody Allen’s work, (especially Without Feathers and many of his films, particularly Manhattan, Annie Hall, Love and Death, and The Purple Rose of Cairo).  I have an even longer-standing love of Casablanca (although, in moments of honest self-reflection, I realize I’m more likely to have been S.Z. Sakall’s bartender, Carl, than either Bogart’s Rick Blaine or Henreid’s Victor Lazlo – but would have wanted the uniform of Claude Rains’s Louis Renault!)

Despite these loves, I’ve never seen Allen’s Play It Again, Sam (on stage or screen) until this past Sunday’s performance at Playhouse on Park (which runs through March 20th).  Under the fast-paced direction of Russ Treyz (running time: 80 minutes, no intermission) and led by the very capable Zane Johnson as our hero “Allan Felix,” the cast brings this early’70’s piece alive in all its glory (and dated-ness).

Felix, a man on the rebound after his wife leaves him, turns to a cinematic muse to help him face the dating scene again.  Felix’s best friend (hilariously portrayed by Dan Mantisa) and his wife (Marnye Young) are ultimately his salvation and help him send the film icon (Ted D’Agostino) packing.  The effervescent Bethany Fitzgerald plays the myriad of women with whom Felix tries to connect and fails.

A play with a funny premise, well executed, and filled with what are now the archetypal Allen traits (the comic self-loathing, the hesitation, the therapy…), it nonetheless feels even older than Casablanca, from 30 years earlier.  The source of the comedy, sex, is, on the one hand, tamer than the average episode of The Big Bang Theory, but, on the other, in at least one segment displays how much more enlightened (in a very good way) a society we have become.  While I support producing scripts as they were written, the risk in a comedy is what happens when what was considered funny is no longer considered such.  (While this represents just a very brief episode in the script, the audience’s universal reaction was telling.)

That aside, this well-appointed (as always) Playhouse on Park production offers a fine window into 1970, and how someone who would become one of the leading comic writers of his generation filters an earlier pop culture masterwork. 

Most importantly of all, as spring seems to keep delaying its arrival, you’ll laugh – a lot.   

12 March 2013

You see, if I become the next great Venezuelan President...

...maybe they'll name a monetary unit after me, too -- to go along with the Bolivar!

A vote for Gigliotti is a vote for Venezuela

It's all about the Gilbertos!


11 March 2013

Another reason I want to be president of Venezuela

I've never really been in a position that required a beret (much less a sash), but I'm game (and, not to be immodest, sure that I could make them work well)!

10 March 2013

Venezuelan Presidential Candidacy Song of the Day

Bob Dylan and the Band singing
Hugo Your Way, I'll Go Mine!

09 March 2013

My Top 5 election slogans for the Venezuelan Presidency


Now that Hugo Chavez is dead, and the election is just a month away, I figure I had better get my presidential campaign underway. 

5)  I'll shake my Caracas for you.

4)  By the time I die, we'll have our own Andrew Lloyd Webber musical!

3)  It's time once again to dress like that guy in the portrait BEHIND Hugo.

2)  It's "Venezuela" NOT vuvuzela!

1)  I'll put the Latin back in Latin America!

02 March 2013

Some Students' Photos from "An Evening with Wesley Stace / John Wesley Harding"

Photo: Kimberly McElveen
Photo: Kimberly McElveen
Photo: Stephanie White
Photo: Stephanie White

Some Memorable Moments from "An Evening with John Wesley Harding/Wesley Stace," 2/28/13, CCSU

Photo credit: Christine Perkins

"They'll teach any kind of crap in college these days."
: Christopher Stace, Wesley's father, a medieval Latinist (N.B.: This is the man who upon hearing his son's album, John Wesley Harding's New Deal, commented that it "displays heterodox theology.")

"That song ['The Governess"] is about Minnie Driver."

"I had forgotten there were horns in the middle of that ['Oh, Pandora']."

"Oh, Pandora" isn't based in Hesiod; it has it roots in, if anything, the 1929 Louise Brooks film, Die B├╝chse der Pandora, directed by Georg Wilhelm Pabst.

My Cabinet of Wonders-ish introduction of Wes:
"He's John Wesley Harding when he plays his guitar,
and Wes Stace when he writes on computer.
At Central he's a class in which you work very hard
Or else you'll be seeking a tutor." 

(Okay, that  may be "memorable" for me only)

The story about his own "quest" for his ventriloquist grandfather's dummy.

"Who would've guessed that the next platform would be nothing?!"

Excellent questions from the panel: Tom Hazuka (Professor of Creative Writing - Fiction), Charles Menoche (Chair of Music, Professor of Composition), Stephanie White (student in Eng 214)

"I see my songs as novels, not short stories."

Eng 214: The Allusive John Wesley Harding/Wesley Stace is "a gateway drug to good literature."

The Playlist:

"Making Love to Bob Dylan"
"That's When I Knew" (a brand new song)
"There's a Starbucks (Where the Starbucks Used to Be)"
A brand new song about a bedroom, the title of which I don't know
"Miss Fortune" (What a great way to end the show!)

01 March 2013