I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

October 01, 2015 - 12:47 p.m.

They say there's always magic in the air (on Broadway)

Here is an irony, I blog in my head all day Whatever I do, hear, see, or read, gets fed into the blogging mill. Yes when it comes time to write I am often at a loss. I'm me so very often I forget things. A lot of it is politics and even economics and I get afraid that My Gentle Readers' eyes will glaze over. Much of it is too personal and involves other people. So I sit down at the computer and write paragraphs like this to cover over the fact that I don't know what I'm going to write. Hell maybe this will be what I write about. Let's get past the required bits first.

Yesterday I went over to Dan. Our conversations often consist of us insulting the other one's favorite bands. The man does not like Dylan, is he even entitled to an opinion? We also disagree on which women the other one should pursue. Once again my taste is better.

When I came home my phone rang as I was opening the door to my room. It was Brianne, of course it was Brianne, nobody else calls me. She really needs to get her own ringtone. I have only assigned ringtones to friends who are singers, I can then use their voice as their ringtone. I don't know what would make me think Brianne. I love it when somebody calls just to talk. We didn't make plans, we didn't take care of business; we just enjoyed each other's conversation and caught up with our lives.

I made myself a great dinner, Buffalo chicken wings and fried plantains. While I was eating it I realized there really is nothing that can beat that. Sure there are other foods I like just as much, many of them, but it's not possible for me to like something more. It pretty much maxes out my culinary rating. It's simple, it's cheap, and it's fun. As in most thing my secret ingredient is garlic salt. I've said this before but it's so important, most people overcook chicken. Remember you can always put it back in. Chicken wings need 30 minutes at 425°. Thighs and breasts need 35 minutes. That's with the bone, they need less when fileted. I have no idea why.

Amazon Prime Music sends me email announcing new artists and albums available. The thing is they don't use the great Amazon recommendation system. I have to wade my way through the pop I have no interest in to find what I want. But I then discovered you can search by genre, at least the top 100 best sellers in each genre. I added a lot of musicals. I heard the Neil Patrick Harris version of Hedwig and the Angry Inch for the first time. Perhaps more surprisingly I have never heard Sondheim's Company and corrected that. Amazon Prime Music has an odd notion of genres. Here are three and the albums I have in them. Can you tell what determines which belong where?

  • Broadway & Vocalists
    • Guys and Dolls: Broadway Revival (1992)
    • Into the Woods: Original Broadway Cast
    • Man of La Mancha; New Broadway Cast 2002
    • My Fair Lady: Original Broadway Cast
    • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: Original Broadway Cast
    • West Side Story: Original Broadway Cast

  • Broadway & Vocalists/Musicals
    • Company: Broadway Cast (2007)
    • Hedwig and he Angry Inch: Original Cast (off Broadway)
    • Into the Woods (2002)
    • Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: (2006)

  • Soundtracks
    • Follies: New Broadway Cast
    • Hedwig and the Angry Inch: Original Broadway Cast
    • The King and I: Original Film Soundtrack
    • Oklahoma: Motion Picture Sound-track

Man of La Mancha: Original Broadway Cast is not listed under any of these. I don't know where they put it. It doesn't tell you the genre when you look at the album.

The idiosyncrasies in spelling and designations is Amazon Prime's not mine. At least two of the three in Soundtracks are movies. From this you can tell a bit of my taste in musicals but not that much as it's only what's available on Prime. I just added Little Shop of Horrors: Original Broadway Cast. I'd have preferred the original off-Broadway which I saw. Hey I'm cool, I just added Hamilton: The Original Broadway Cast. You can be seen with me now.

Looking through these I made an observation about Broadway that at least works for me. I'd like to know if you feel the same way. Growing up Broadway meant one thing, what we might now call "Classic Broadway. This is the stuff of the Great American Songbook, Rogers & Hammerstein, Lerner & Lowe and the like. Sondheim started in that style, Gypsy and West Side Story were classic Broadway. These were shows where you came out humming the music and the songs could become main-stream pop hits.

Then Sondheim started to move away from that and become more avent garde, with Sweeney Todd he made the clean break. The songs were no longer melodic. They were meant to be listened to in context. They could not be moved from one musical to the next. They were more intellectual and less pop. None of which stopped his musicals from being popular, Into the Woods and Sunday in the Park with George were certainly hits, Assassins not so much. They were all what I think of as alt-Broadway. They were not the Great American Songbook, they were each more idiosyncratic. I'm not sure what to do with Hair it had a load of standalone hits but was clearly not Classic Broadway. I’m going to put it into alt-Broadway to along with Hamilton and Hedwig.

Then there's Andrew Lloyd Weber and his unholy spawn. Not that I'm being judgmental. These are lushly produced shows geared to the tourist trade with spectacle in place of musical and dramatic content. The music is filled with sound and fury and signifies nothing.

As for Classic Broadway I think the only place to consistently find it is Disney. Perhaps not to my taste but clearly in that tradition. Little Shop of Horrors doesn't sound Classic Broadway but the songs are so catchy that I think it really does count. And of course the songwriters, Alan Menken & ‎Howard Ashman, went on to work for Disney.

Now even if I love a show I rarely come out singing the songs and I don't hear other people doing it either. I think that's one reason there are so many revivals. People still love Classic Broadway.

I want to make it clear that I don't think Classic Broadway is "better" than alt-Broadway. It's just a niche that is not being filled as well now. My favorite musicals are Sweeney Todd and Hedwig and the Angry Inch but Fiddler on the Roof, Man of La Mancha and West Side Story are right behind them. Things are so close I hated listening those three, what of My Fair Lady and Camelot and … . OK you get the point.

I think I'll listen to Hamilton next and see if I'm with all my friends that love it. Maybe I'll do a musicals show when I guest DJ with Brian. Not the next time but someday. The problem is I don't own any of the CDs. I don't think we can play Amazon Prime versions on the radio. Maybe I can borrow them. Maybe they are in the WFDU library. I can investigate.

Now to figure out what to do about brunch and what to take out for dinner. I made an executive decision, sausageeggandcheese on chocolate chip Eggo waffles for brunch.

I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.

Memories: Not that Horrid Song - May 29, 2018
Wise Madness is Now In Session - May 28, 2018
The NFL and the First Amendment - May 27, 2018
On The Road Again - May 26, 2018
Oliver the Three-Eyed Crow - May 25, 2018

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Horvendile October 01, 2015
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