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February 29, 2008

Song of the Day #879

Song of the Day: Lester Leaps In was composed and recorded by the great tenor saxophonist Lester Young ("Prez"). A more fitting song for a Leap Year Day I cannot find! Listen to audio clips by Lester Young, Count Basie, Charlie Parker (here too), James Moody, and a YouTube clip of Lionel Hampton with an All-Star Line-Up. And a very Happy Bissextile Day to All!

February 24, 2008

Song of the Day #878

Song of the Day: Hooray for Hollywood, music by Richard A. Whiting, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, made its debut in the 1937 movie "Hollywood Hotel." The original film rendition featured Johnnie Davis, Francis Langford, and the Benny Goodman Orchestra. Listen to audio clips of renditions by a swinging Rosemary Clooney, Nancy Sinatra, and Doris Day (and Doris on YouTube too). There's also a YouTube video montage featuring the original rendition! As our annual Movie Music Tribute concludes, don't forget to check out the 80th Annual Oscars tonight!

February 23, 2008

Song of the Day #877

Song of the Day: Superman ("Prelude and Main Title March") (audio clip at that link), composed by John Williams, is a rousing, heroic cinematic theme. It should be noted that Film Score Monthly has just issued an 8-CD Boxed Set of all the music from the various incarnations of the series.

February 22, 2008

Song of the Day #876

Song of the Day: King Kong ("Tooth and Claw") (audio clip at that link), composed by James Newton Howard, is a highlight from the 2005 version of the iconic Big Ape tale, directed by Peter Jackson.

February 21, 2008

Song of the Day #875

Song of the Day: Raiders of the Lost Ark ("The Raiders March") (audio clip at that link), composed by John Williams, evokes all the adventure of the Indiana Jones movies. The adventure begins again in May 2008, with "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" (trailer and full-length audio clip at that link). And take a look at a YouTube celebration of the "Indiana Jones" films and of John Williams conducting a live orchestral version of this classic theme.

February 20, 2008

Space Times Square Online

Back in November, I mentioned "Space Times Square," a short film by my pal Barry Vacker. Barry tells me that the film has now been posted at Google Video and on YouTube as well (see Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). Of course, the digital quality of the film has been degraded in the online transfer, but there it is... for your viewing pleasure!

Song of the Day #874

Song of the Day: The Russia House ("Katya"/"Alone in the World"), composed by Jerry Goldsmith, with lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, is featured in both instrumental and vocal versions on the soundtrack album. The vocal version is sung by Patti Austin (audio clips to instrumental and vocal originals at that link). Perfect for the night of the full snow moon lunar eclipse, this is a lush, romantic composition. Listen to audio clips of the love theme recorded by the Jazz at the Movies Band and a haunting version by my sister-in-law, jazz vocalist Joanne Barry (complete recording at that link). That vocal rendition is a highlight from the album "Embraceable You" (yes, that's my Blondie on the cover of the CD); Joanne is accompanied by jazz guitarists Carl Barry (my brother) and Jack Wilkins (guest soloist).

February 19, 2008

JARS Call for Papers: Ayn Rand and War

The new issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies has been published (see here). It marks the beginning of our ninth year.

This means, of course, that next year, JARS will be celebrating its Tenth Anniversary. As part of our Tenth Anniversary year, we are already scheduled to publish a major symposium on "Ayn Rand and Friedrich Nietzsche."

We are also issuing another Call for Papers on the topic of "Ayn Rand, Objectivism, and War." The deadline for proposals is July 1, 2008; the deadline for papers is October 15, 2008.

We are interested in papers that cover any aspect of this very broad topic: Rand's view of war; defenses or critiques of Rand-influenced views of "just war," the current war or past wars, terrorism, "collateral damage," torture, the relationship between domestic and foreign policy, etc.

We are less interested in discussions of "current events"—except insofar as they illustrate broader principles. Remember that we are a semi-annual and that the state of "current events" will change considerably before these essays are brought to print.

Submissions should adhere to our style guidelines; proposals should be submitted via email to me: chris DOT sciabarra AT nyu DOT edu

Cross-posted at L&P.

New Journal of Ayn Rand Studies: Vol. 9, No. 1

I am delighted to announce the publication of the Fall 2007 issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies. Yes, it's a little late, but, I think, well worth the wait.

New JARS: Vol. 9, No. 1

The Table of Contents is as follows:

To Think or Not: A Structural Resolution to the Mind-Body and Free Will-Determinism Problem - Neil K. Goodell
Ayn Rand and "The Objective": A Closer Look at the Intrinsic-Objective-Subjective Trichotomy - Roger E. Bissell
Self-as-Organism and Sense of Self: Toward a Differential Conception - Andrew Schwartz
Society: Toward an Objective View - Susan Love Brown
A Critique of Ayn Rand’s Theory of Intellectual Property Rights - Timothy Sandefur

Reviews
Self-Directedness and the Human Good - Peter E. Vedder
Ayn Rand, Novelist - Peter Saint-Andre

Discussion
Reply to Fred Seddon, "Recent Writings on Ethics": On Behalf of Ethical Intuitionism - Michael Huemer
Rejoinder to Michael Huemer: Neglecting Rand's Metaethics - Fred Seddon

Abstracts of the above articles can be found here; contributor biographies are available here.

Cross-posted at L&P.

Song of the Day #873

Song of the Day: Body Heat ("Main Title") (soundtrack album audio clip at that link) is a bluesy, jazzy, steamy composition by the great John Barry. Listen to an audio clip of a rendition by the "Jazz at the Movies Band."

February 18, 2008

Song of the Day #872

Song of the Day: The Empire Strikes Back ("Imperial March, Darth Vader's Theme"), composed by John Williams, is one of the best cinematic marches ever written. From one of the best movies in the "Star Wars" franchise, this one conjures up images of the Dark Side, heavy breathing and all! Listen to an additional audio clip here.

February 17, 2008

Song of the Day #871

Song of the Day: Ben Hur ("Victory Parade, Parts 1 & 2") (audio clip at that link), composed by Miklos Rozsa, kicks off our annual film music tribute, which will take us right up to the 80th Annual Academy Awards. And as is also traditional around here, the Movie Music begins on my birthday (I turn 48 today!) with a selection from my favorite film score from my favorite movie written by my favorite film score composer. This regal composition is one of Rozsa's best.

February 14, 2008

Song of the Day #870

Song of the Day: Hearts Take Time, words and music by Janis Ian and Kye Fleming, has been recorded by Diane Schuur (no audio clip available), and my sister-in-law Joanne Barry (audio clips at that link). A Happy Valentine's Day to one and all!

February 11, 2008

Roy Scheider, RIP

A very sad passing: Roy Scheider, 75, died yesterday after many years of illness.

"Jaws" remains one of my favorite movies of all time, and a lot of that had to do with Roy Scheider's performance. One of his lines from that movie, "You're gonna need a bigger boat," was voted #35 in the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Quotes," surveying some of the best movie lines of all time.

I loved Scheider in so many other movies too, including "All that Jazz."

RIP

Entertaining Grammy Awards Show

The 50th Annual Grammy Awards were televised last night, and I was delighted to see Herbie Hancock take "Best Album of the Year" for "River:The Joni Letters" (he also won in the "Best Contemporary Jazz Album" category). The last jazz album to win in this category was among my favorite albums of all time: "Getz/Gilberto" (1965) (though jazz-influenced albums have won many times since then, including projects by Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, and Quincy Jones).

Among the other multiple award winners: Amy Winehouse (5), Kanye West (4), Justin Timberlake (2) for "Love Stoned" (Best Dance Recording) and "What Goes Around... Comes Around" (Male Pop Vocal Performance); Chaka Khan (2), and the late Michael Brecker (2). Even Barak Obama won a Grammy ("Best Spoken Word Album"). So we have a couple of Grammy winners now vying for the Democratic nomination (Hillary Clinton won previously in the same category for "It Takes a Village").

Some of the performance highlights of the night: Ol' Blue Eyes (who appeared miraculously) alongside Alicia Keys in the opening number; Rihanna doing "Don't Stop the Music" during a reunion of The Time; an impromptu "That Old Black Magic" duet with Kid Rock and Keely Smith; Herbie Hancock and classical pianist Lang Lang doing "Rhapsody in Blue"; tributes to Luciano Pavarotti and the Beatles (the expected Michael Jackson tribute didn't happen); and an absolutely sizzling, tear-the-roof-off-the-house "Proud Mary" duet with Tina Turner and Beyonce.

I truly enjoyed the pairings of "old" and "new" throughout the broadcast.

February 10, 2008

Song of the Day #869

Song of the Day: Don't Stop the Music, words and music by T. E. Hermansen, M.S. Eriksen, T. Dabney, and M. Jackson, is nominated for "Best Dance Recording" on tonight's 50th Annual Grammy Awards. This Rihanna hit (not a remake of yesterday's Yarbrough and Peoples track) has a great beat, a catchy hook, and a very familiar sample from Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'." MJ will be on hand, they say, as contemporary artists pay tribute to "Thriller," which debuted in 1983 (a new 25th anniversary edition of "Thriller" comes out on February 12, 2008). Listen here to audio clips of today's song from the Rihanna album, "Good Girl Gone Bad." And check out a YouTube video clip too.

February 09, 2008

D.C. v. Heller

My pal Daniel L. Schmutter has filed a brilliant amicus brief in support of the respondent in the upcoming gun control case District of Columbia v. Heller (07-290). Check out the PDF of that brief here.

Terrific!

Song of the Day #868

Song of the Day: Don't Stop the Music, words and music by Jonah Ellis, Lonnie Simmons, and Alisa Peoples, is a grinding, funky, synth-based, sleaze beat hit recorded by Yarbrough and Peoples. Watch (and listen) to this infectious 80s track at YouTube.

February 05, 2008

No Rain on Our Parade

There is a 50% chance for rain in the Big Apple, but it's all sunshine in Giants land today. The Giants parade up the "Canyon of Heroes" begins at 11 a.m. in celebration of their improbable victory over the New England Patriots in Sunday's Super Bowl.

You can watch the action here or on any local TV channel in NYC.

Sometimes, New York Daily News writer Mike Lupica infuriates me (I've been enjoying his political articles more than his sports articles of late!). But when he's good, he's great. Yesterday was one terrific article followed by another today. Lupica writes:

This time the Yankees didn't go out in the first round and the Mets didn't blow a seven-game lead. The Patriots didn't go to 19-0. Boston didn't ring up New York again. The Giants come across the river today and bring the Lombardi Trophy with them. For the first time in a long time the sports capital of the world isn't someplace else.

Some of us would like the good cheer of the Giants to rub off on our local baseball teams.

Good news: Ten days for pitchers and catchers to report to Spring Training. Woo hoo!

For now, however, it's time to have a parade! Go Big Blue!

The Philosophy of TV Noir, The Fugitive, and Barry Morse

A sad note to report this morning: Barry Morse, who played the obsessive Lt. Philip Gerard in the classic 60s television show, The Fugitive, passed away on Saturday, February 2, at the age of 89 (hat tip to my pal, Aeon Skoble). I loved Morse in the series; his portrayal of the character could have been one-dimensional, but it evolved wonderfully over the course of that remarkable television show. (And will somebody please tell me why the character was renamed Sam Gerard in the action-packed film version?)

I should note for the benefit of fans of the original television series, starring David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble, the DVD releases continue. Season 1, Volume 1 was released in August of 2007; Volume 2 is due out on February 26. I loved everything about this series... from its acting and morality-play plots to its classic score, it is one of the finest television series ever made.

While I'm on the topic of The Fugitive, you can read about that series and other great examples of "TV Noir" in an absolutely spectacular new anthology, edited by Steven M. Sanders and Aeon J. Skoble, entitled The Philosophy of TV Noir.

The Philosophy of TV Noir

The book is part of the University Press of Kentucky's "Philosophy of Popular Culture" series. I provided a blurb for it (which appears on the back book jacket), so I might as well reproduce that here, because it sums up my thoughts precisely:

Given the centrality of television as an organ of popular culture, this book is profoundly important to understanding the legacy of film noir. This anthology is a natural, necessary, and brilliant addition to the series.

The book includes chapters on Dragnet, The Naked City, Secret Agent, Miami Vice, 24, The Sopranos, CSI, The X-Files, The Prisoner, Twin Peaks, and, my favorite chapter, the one written by Aeon himself: "Action and Integrity in The Fugitive" (disclaimer: yeah, he gives me an acknowledgment in his notes, but this is no 'quid quo pro'... the essay is terrific!).

Pick up this book! Get the DVDs!

And remember Barry Morse...

Noted at L&P.

February 03, 2008

HOLY $#%&!!! The Giants Win the Super Bowl!!!

I don't #%^$*^@ believe it!!!!

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Postscript (7:17 a.m., February 04, 2008): Ok, now I'm a little calmer. :) But the Giants achieved one of the greatest upsets in NFL Super Bowl history, stunning the Perfect Patriots, who were vying for a 19-0 season, beating them with 35 seconds left on the clock, 17-14. As New Yorkers chanted "18 and 1"... the Giants won the game, led by Most Valuable Player, Quarterback Eli Manning (who follows his MVP brother Peyton, who took the Colts to a Super Bowl victory last year).

Congratulations to Big Blue!!!

Song of the Day #867

Song of the Day: Blue Bossa is a jazz standard composed by jazz trumpeter Kenny Dorham. It's a lilting bossa nova that has been recorded by many artists, including jazz greats Joe Pass and J. J. Johnson, super pianist McCoy Tyner, and Kenny Dorham himself (audio clips at those links). And watch a YouTube video performance by Zack Kim. Today is Super Bowl Sunday, and I'm cheering on Big Blue: Go Giants!

February 02, 2008

Song of the Day #866

Song of the Day: Me and My Shadow features the words and music of Brooklynite Dave Dreyer, Al Jolson, and Billy Rose. Listen to audio clips of renditions by Judy Garland, Vic Damone, Peggy Lee, Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond, Robbie Williams and Jonathan Wilkes in a paean to Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr., and James Caan, who sings the song to that "Funny Lady," Barbra Streisand. And speaking of shadows: Punxsutawney Phil saw his today... and forecast six more weeks of winter. But I'm with Staten Island Chuck, who didn't see his shadow, and forecast an early spring. Happy Groundhog Day!