Monday, May 20, 2019

Kung Fu

I've been getting into the 1970s TV show Kung Fu, starring David Carradine, may he rest in peace. It's almost exactly ten years since he was found dead.

I'd seen clips from Kung Fu and thought I had a pretty good idea of what the show was like thanks to Gabe Kaplan's comedy bit.

But the series was more complex and subtle than that. And sometimes there were moments of sneaky humor, like in this clip. The hotel owner/boxing impresario played by Leslie Nielsen decides to make Kwai Chang Caine a fighter and names him "The Shanghai Kid" - and Caine's response, so perfectly in character, and yet unexpected, that it's hysterically funny. At least I guffawed when I heard it.

Carradine really was an amazing actor to play this character so perfectly. There is a short documentary on Youtube about the show which includes clips of David Carradine discussing the show.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Trudeau again

I just don't think it's possible to take a bad photo of Trudeau.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Mozart's piano concerto #22 in E-flat K. 482

I've always been a fan of this piece but never really paid enough attention to it to know its name, number, key signature and Köchel listing. But recently I have been looking up performances online.

I collected a bunch of live filmed performances on Youtube.

Milos Forman made good use of the third movement in a sequence in "Amadeus" that shows Mozart traveling to his concert and then performing and conducting the piece outdoors for the Emperor.

Unfortunately the only available clip from the movie is overdubbed but it shows one of my favorite parts of the concerto, right at minute 1:15 of the clip below (which opens with a very young Cynthia Nixon as Mozart's maid.) The orchestra is playing a little heart-beat rhythm as a form of dramatic tension and then the piano comes in. The moment represents a perfect combination of beauty and control that I think defines not only the best art, but the feeling you get when you are in the flow of creating intellectual or artistic work that you have confidence is good. There are few better feelings than that.

And in his genius Mozart pairs that moment of dramatic tension with one at the end. In this clip at minute 33:12 it sounds like the concerto is coming to an end but just before, one more time, there is that little moment of tension and it's even better than the first, with the woodwinds in the background filling out the pulse.

Just amazing.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

How to get to Sesame Street

The show has been headquartered in New York City since 1969 and has always been based between West 63rd and West 64th Streets.

Sesame Street becomes a real intersection in New York City

When I was doing my volunteer gig as a greeter in a kiosk in Central Park recently, a young woman came by to ask me how to get to Carnegie Hall. 

I couldn't resist. I said "practice."

She didn't crack a smile. I don't think her English was very good and she wasn't familiar with corny American jokes.

So I told her how to geographically navigate to 57th Street and Seventh Avenue.