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August 22, 2007

So You Think You Can Dance III

Notablog readers know that I'm a fan of two Fox-produced talent shows: "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance."

With my relatively new DVR... yes, I have finally graduated from the Video Tape Generation... I am a bit behind in all my viewing. But I finally did see the finale of the third season of "So You Think You Can Dance," and offer my congratulations to Sabra. I really thought Danny was going to take the prize, but Sabra became the first woman to win the competition.

I was elated that the last show highlighted my favorite choreographed piece of the season: Lacey and Neil doing the Mia Michaels' choreographed routine to Billy Porter's "Time." It blew me away, again. Michaels is actually nominated for an Emmy for what was one of my favorite routines from Season II: "Calling You."

I hope to see "Time" performed when the tour comes to the New York metropolitan area.

Anyway, it was a great season... the best yet in terms of the level of talent. Can't wait to see Season IV.

August 20, 2007

New York Movies and "The Fugitive"

I'm so behind in my reading of the New York Daily News that I just discovered that Elizabeth Weitzman referred to me in a recent column of hers, which continues a series of enlightening articles she's been writing on people's "favorite, [New York-] city-centric films." I've really enjoyed her series. Readers can check out that series of articles here, here, here, here, here, and here.

As for my all-time favorite films, which have used New York City as a backdrop, here's a brief list (in no particular order):

"King Kong" (the classic 1933 and also Peter Jackson's remake)
"North By Northwest" (a Cary Grant-Alfred Hitchcock tour de force)
"Angels with Dirty Faces" (James Cagney at his best)
"The Godfather" (I and II) (the greatest Mafia Movie Masterpieces of all time, in my view)
"Dog Day Afternoon" (dramatizing a bank robbery that took place in my neighborhood)
"Pride of the Yankees" (probably my favorite baseball movie of all time, about the great Lou Gehrig)
"West Side Story" (one of my favorite Movie Musicals of all time)
"Funny Girl" (another favorite musical, which takes us from vaudeville to the Ziegfeld Follies)
"An Affair to Remember" (Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr in a romance atop the Empire State Building)
"Rear Window" (claustrophobic Jimmy Stewart-Hitchcock classic)
"Miracle on 34th Street" (among my favorite Christmas films of all time)
"Malcolm X" (from Harlem to Mecca, a sprawling epic)
"Independence Day" (great sci-fi special effects)
"The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms" (great monster movie)
"Saturday Night Fever" (Travolta struttin' his stuff in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn)

Last week, Weitzman asked readers to send in their favorite New York-centric comedies, and I sent her a note that included the following list:

o "Barefoot in the Park"... hilarious ... and NY'ers recognize the reality of small apartments and long walk-ups.
o Two absolutely classic Cary Grant vehicles: "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" and "Arsenic and Old Lace" ... the first, a perennial favorite contrasting the confines of that small apartment (again) and the confines of a different sort posed by an ever-growing nightmare in the suburbs! And the second: Well, Hallowe'en in Brooklyn, NY is just dark comedy at its best!
o Finally, "Pocketful of Miracles" and "Arthur" ... both featuring classic performances, great cast, and hilarious---and poignant---moments.
I'm sure you'll hear from those who like other ticklers, like "Ghostbusters" ... but wanted to make sure some of the above were mentioned too!

I discovered that Weitzman mentioned my note to her in her column on Friday, August 17, 2007. She writes:

"I'm sure you'll hear from those who like 'Ghostbusters,'" offers Chris Sciabarra, before putting in a word for "Barefoot in the Park."

Notablog readers who have other favorite New York-centric films... I'd love to hear from you.

Finally, as an aside, I should mention that in another column, Weitzman reports on "the most exciting news," which I've known about for a while, thanks to a good friend: David Janssen's immortal television role as Dr. Richard Kimble is finally brought to DVD with the release of Volume One, Season One of "The Fugitive." I've received the set as a gift and can't wait to see the newly restored existential drama. It is among my very favorite series of all time. I urge readers who have not seen this classic television show to see it!

August 14, 2007

EBSCO and a New Journal of Ayn Rand Studies

I'm delighted to announce that The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies Foundation has entered into an electronic licensing relationship with EBSCO Publishing, the world's most prolific aggregator of full-text journals, magazines, and other sources. Starting with our next issue, in addition to our regular print version, the full text of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies will be found on EBSCO Publishing's databases. And, in time, we look forward to seeing all of the articles from our past issues available in this format as well.

In the meanwhile, a crazy Spring and an even crazier Summer (did somebody say a Tornado in BROOKLYN!!!???) could not prevent the publication of the new issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies.

New Spring 2007 JARS

Volume 8, Number 2 features the following essays and contributors:

God and Objectivism: A Critique of Objectivist Philosophy of Religion - Stephen E. Parrish

Objectivist Atheology - Patrick Toner

Merely Metaphorical? Ayn Rand, Isabel Paterson, and the Language of Theory - Stephen Cox

Isabel Paterson and the Idea of America - David T. Beito

Recent Writings on Ethics - Fred Seddon

Unilateral Transfers and a Reinterpretation of Objectivist Ethics - Eren Ozgen

Reply to Tibor R. Machan, "Rand and Choice" (Spring 2006), Eric Mack, "More Problematic Arguments in Randian Ethics" (Spring 2006), and Douglas B. Rasmussen, "Regarding Choice and the Foundation of Morality: Reflections on Rand's Ethics" (Spring 2006):
Objectivity and the Proof of Egoism - Robert Hartford

Rejoinder to Robert Hartford:
A Brief Comment on Hartford - Tibor R. Machan

Rejoinder to Robert Hartford:
Rand's Metaethics - Douglas B. Rasmussen

Reply to David Graham and Nathan Nobis, "Putting Humans First?" (Fall 2006):
Putting Humans First? YES! - John Altick

Rejoinder to John Altick:
Animals and Rights - David Graham and Nathan Nobis

Check out the abstracts for the above articles here and the contributor biographies here.

Cross-posted to L&P.

Merv and The Scooter

Over the past two days, two of the most memorable personalities of my youth passed away. Yesterday, I found out about the passing of Merv Griffin, who is known best today as the producer of long-running game shows, such as Wheel of Fortune and, my favorite, Jeopardy. But my fondest memory of the affable Griffin is as the syndicated television talk show host who always gave us great entertainment, like that night back in the late 1970s when Sarah Vaughan and Mel Torme scatted their way through "Lady Be Good" and other jazz standards.

This afternoon, I heard about the loss of the great Hall of Fame Yankee shortstop, Phil Rizzuto. I wasn't around when Rizzuto played shortstop for the Yankees, but his voice was a staple on radio and television for those of us who followed the Yankees from the 1960s through the 1990s. Nothing was more hilarious than listening to his color commentary during a game. His classic stories, his shout-out "happy birthday" wishes to various fans, his love of the cannoli provided us with a diet of gut-busting riotous moments on any given summer night (check out the book, O Holy Cow! The Selected Verse of Phil Rizzuto, for some of Rizzuto's 'poetry').

I'll miss Merv and the Scooter. Rest in peace.

August 03, 2007

Song of the Day #818

Song of the Day: Cherish features the words and music of Terry Kirkman, a founding member of The Association, which scored a Number 1 hit with this song in 1966. Listen to audio clips of renditions by The Association and Nancy Ames.