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Everything posted by miliosr

  1. The plot holes and inconsistencies in The Fog don't bother me much as I don't watch this type of movie for rigorous logic. But the holes and inconsistencies are noticeable. John Carpenter himself has said that, when he assembled his rough cut, he realized that the movie didn't work. The Fog wasn't scary, lacked gore (relative to the competition) and had too many dead (no pun intended) stretches. Carpenter went back, reshot portions of the movie and added new scenes (such as the intro with John Houseman). I think you can see the stitched together quality of the movie as there are parts of it which make little to no sense: [Spoilers Ahead] At the beginning of the anniversary day, the undead sailor is about to kill the Tom Atkins character but the clock strikes 1:00AM and the sailor disappears. And yet, supernatural activity continues throughout the day. Who is causing it and why? At the coroner's office, how does one of victims killed by the undead sailors get off the table? (I wonder if Carpenter added this sequence because he found the middle part of the movie to be too slow.) Why do the sailors attack Adrienne Barbeau's character at the lighthouse when they've already killed 5 of the 6 people they need to achieve their revenge and the sixth -- Hal Holbrook's character -- is waiting for them at the church?
  2. As a youth, I enjoyed watching The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries with Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy as The Hardy Boys and Pamela Sue Martin as Nancy Drew. The episodes that stuck with me over the years were the two-parter that opened the 1977-78 season. The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew meet for the first time in these episodes and head to Transylvania, where they encounter Count Dracula -- or do they? I thought these episodes were so spooky when I was young and I was impressed that the episodes were taking place at Dracula's castle in Transylvania. Watching them again this month is a hilarious experience because the episodes aren't especially scary and "Transylvania" is obviously the Universal Studios back lot, where The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries were filmed. Still, both episodes are a lot of fun in a very 70s way. The entire two-parter is online but the best parts are Nancy Drew fighting a fake-looking vampire bat: And Shaun Cassidy singing: And if any Ballet Alert members want to buy me a pair of those boots Dracula is wearing, I will be happy to provide my size!
  3. Even Suzanne Farrell has said that there's been too much sameness in body type since Balanchine died, which implies that there was more variety before he died. When I read Danchig-Waring's reference to "double-barreled," I immediately though of "barrel-chested": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrel_chest
  4. Regarding this comment of Danchig-Waring's: "What I do know is that, by ballet standards, I’ve always had more muscle mass than is “desirable” for the “lean style” advocated by George Balanchine." One of the responders in the comments made this excellent reply: "And, as for what Balanchine advocated in a dancer’s body, that’s always been overplayed. His principals and soloists, especially, were more physically diverse (though not racially so at the time) than people liked to think. Violette Verdy, Anthony Blum, Gloria Govrin, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, Judith Fugate—all these brilliant dancers, and many more, didn’t fit the supposed mold. I watched the company when Balanchine was alive and selected his dancers, and he was never as myopic as people liked to think."
  5. And that's not even the dumbest thing she does! [Spoilers Ahead] After Bill (Bing Crosby's son, Harry) and she find a bloodied axe in a bed, she goes to sleep on a couch. Then she makes herself a cup of hot chocolate. She also repeatedly drops the weapon she's holding or fails to pick up Mrs. Voorhees' weapons (until the fourth and final fight.) I will say that my favorite scene in the entire movie involves Alice. After Crazy Ralph delivers his warning of doom to Alice and two other counselors, he races to his bicycle outside the cabin he was hiding in and cycles away. Alice is the only one to follow him out and it's such a creepy moment: the twilight, the wind picking up and, especially, the look of consternation on Alice's face. It's a great 'Last Girl' moment -- the most perceptive member of the group slowly realizing all is not as it appears.
  6. Watched one of the greatest of all slasher films, Friday the 13th, this weekend. Filmed in fall 1979 and released in 1980, Friday the 13th -- even more than Halloween -- ignited the slasher craze that overtook the horror genre (and the box office) in the early-1980s. Dispensing with any attempt at being artistic, Friday the 13th established many of the conventions that came to rule the genre -- the isolated setting (Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco in northern New Jersey), the sinister ambience, the local figure warning of doom (Crazy Ralph) who no one pays any attention to, the point-of-view being the killer's, etc. [Spoilers Ahead] Friday the 13th is still marvelously effective after all these years even when you know the jump scares are coming (and when the characters are being incredibly stupid.) The movie really hits its stride in the last 25 minutes when Betsy Palmer shows up as the deranged Mrs. Voorhees. Palmer plays the part with gusto and her performance has been rightly celebrated as a horror classic. Even though she was in her early 50s when she took the part (so she could buy a new car!), Palmer gives her all duking it out with 'The Last Girl,' Alice (played by Adrienne King). And still one of the great shock endings in horror history!
  7. Fun fact: John Carpenter offered the part of Dr. Loomis in Halloween to Christopher Lee but he turned it down! Later in life, Lee told Carpenter that turning down Halloween was one of the biggest mistakes he ever made in the business. I have a soft spot for the two Christopher Lee-Peter Cushing 'Draculas' the two of them made together in the early-70s -- Dracula A.D. 1972 and The Satanic Rites of Dracula. Moving the Hammer 'Dracula' series from the 19th century to the early-70s was a novel idea. Not everything works but there are some genuine scares in both.
  8. The Legend of Hell House is an unsung classic. It has a great cast (Pamela Franklin, Roddy McDowall) and is very faithful to Richard Matheson's book. As far as rating the Halloween movies, here goes: Halloween (from 1978) is a true horror masterpiece and remains influential to this very day. I have a strong liking for Halloween II (from 1981) with its hospital setting, ominous mood and slow build-up. (For better or for worse, you can also see the impact the Friday the 13th franchise had on the Halloween franchise with the increase in gore in Halloween II.) Halloween III exists outside the Laurie Strode-Michael Myers continuity so I have no strong feelings about that. Parts IV-VI (w/ Donald Pleasance but without Jamie Lee Curtis) start out OK (Part IV) and end up as terrible (Part VI). H2O from 1998 (w/ Jamie Lee Curtis returning to the franchise after 17 years) has its moments but the tone is uncertain (LL Cool J in a Halloween movie?) H20's immediate sequel, Resurrection, is awful but for the beginning with Jamie Lee Curtis' character Laurie duking it out again with Michael. The two Rob Zombie "reimaginings" from the 00s should be avoided at all costs -- they are repulsive. Last year's Halloween, which set aside all continuity from Halloween II onward, felt more like a series of set pieces from the other movies strung together rather than an actual movie. Curtis was fantastic in it, though, as she returned to her signature role after 20 years. (Be warned: The body count is astronomical in this movie.) Filming has already begun on a sequel to the 2018 Halloween. Curtis returns as Laurie as do Kyle Richards (Lindsay) and Charles Cyphers (Sheriff Brackett) from the 1978 movie.
  9. I kicked off my Halloween viewing season by watching director John Carpenter’s atmospheric ghost tale, The Fog, which was his follow-up to his 1978 smash, Halloween. [Spoilers Ahead] Filmed in the spring of 1979 and released in February 1980, The Fog is set in the fictional coastal town of ‘Antonio Bay’ in northern California. As the town prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary, uninvited party guests in the form of undead sailors who died 100 years before arrive for the celebration; seeking vengeance. What comes to light is that the sailors were actually lepers who wanted to form a community north of the town. Six town members tricked them into crashing their ship on the rocks during a dense fog and then stole the gold the lepers had amassed in hope of building their community. The Fog is a well-told ghost tale that is all the more effective because much is left to the imagination. The undead pirates appear mostly in shadows or thick fog which aids the believability of the central tale. Also contributing to the overall atmosphere is Carpenter’s deliberately slow pacing. There are only a few shocks in the movie’s first 60 minutes before the action really gets going in the last 30 minutes. The sense of mounting dread makes the final mayhem more effective (although young audiences of today may find the build-up too slow.) Several Halloween alumni appear in this, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Nancy Loomis and Charles Cyphers. Joining the fun are Adrienne Barbeau and Tom Atkins, who would become important members of the repertory company of actors moving from one Carpenter film to another during this period. (Barbeau, Atkins, Cyphers and Curtis (uncredited) would join Halloween vets Donald Pleasance and Nancy Stephens in Carpenter’s next film, Escape from New York, and Curtis, Pleasance, Loomis, Cyphers and Stephens would all return for the Carpenter written and produced, Halloween II.) But the biggest star of the movie is the northern California coastal setting itself. The remoteness of the locations and the vastness of the Pacific Ocean add a lot to the overall mood. Special mention must go to the Point Reyes Lighthouse, which serves as the radio station from which Adrienne Barbeau's character makes her nightly broadcasts. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_Reyes_Lighthouse The Fog isn't the scariest of movies and it isn't especially gory (by late-70s/early-80s standards) but, if you like ghost stories, this is a very satisfying one.
  10. Adolphe Binder has won her lawsuit against the city of Wuppertal: https://www.tagesspiegel.de/kultur/rufmordkampagne-gegen-adolphe-binder-kuendigung-der-wuppertaler-intendantin-bleibt-unwirksam/24932758.html The story is in German but here's a sample courtesy of Google translate: "It was no surprise. Adolphe Binder won the case against the world-famous Tanztheater Wuppertal in second instance. The state labor court in Dusseldorf has confirmed on Tuesday that their termination is ineffective. The judge Alexander Schneider has not recognized any of the allegations against Binder as a reason for termination. The cultural manager was accused in the first place to have presented no actionable game plan, also their leadership style was criticized. Even bullying was mentioned. Adolphe Binder is now fully rehabilitated, so the verdict can be interpreted. But she has no reason to celebrate. Because soon begins a new act of Wuppertal drama, which seems like a thriller and like a provincial farce." "The verdict is a bitter defeat for the dance theater. Ten years after the death of its founder and principal Pina Bausch, it is still looking for a new governance structure for the future. The court has only spoken a partial judgment - was cleared by nothing. Only in a next negotiation, probably in January 2020, will it decide whether Adolphe Binder is allowed to return to work. That she wants that, she made it clear again at the trial. However, Bettina Wagner-Bergelt was hired by a new director last November." "provincial farce" indeed!
  11. Does anyone know when single tickets go on sale? I couldn't find that information on the Web site.
  12. From "The Ballad of Dorothy Parker": "Mind if I turn on the radio?" "Oh, my favorite song," she said And it was Joni singing, "Help me, I think I'm falling" And this: In interviews, Prince praised Mitchell's 1975 album The Hissing of Summer Lawns, gushing about how much he loved it on more than one occasion. At the time, the album was not well-received and Mitchell later said she was grateful for The Purple One's support.
  13. I have mixed feelings about some of these posthumous releases. I'm all for remastered rereleases of the studio albums Prince released during his lifetime. But Originals is really more of "historical interest" than anything else. Listening to demos of songs Prince gave to other singers is fine once or twice. But all Originals really does is to confirm that the subsequent cover versions are the definitive versions, especially The Bangles' "Manic Monday," Sheila E's "The Glamorous Life," Martika's "Love . . . Thy Will Be Done," Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U," and The Time's "Jungle Love". What I would like to see from the estate is a box set devoted to the unreleased albums Dream Factory, Camille and Crystal Ball, which eventually resolved themselves into Prince's 1987 masterpiece, Sign o' the Times.
  14. For those who are interested, the Prince estate's latest "from the vaults" release is Originals, which contains the original demo versions of songs Prince gave away to other performers and, in some cases, became very big hits for those performers. More info here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Originals_(Prince_album) Here is Prince's version of "Manic Monday," which was a #2 hit for The Bangles in 1986. (Kept off the top spot by Prince's own "Kiss") For comparison here is The Bangles' (definitive, in my opinion) version:
  15. I didn't see this anywhere else and there's so little activity in the Houston Ballet section of Ballet Alert: https://www.pointemagazine.com/linnar-looris-estonian-national-ballet-2638968156.html I had heard the news about Linnar Looris replacing Thomas Edur as the head of the Estonian National Ballet. But I hadn't heard that Jared Matthews would be joining him as Assistant Artistic Director,
  16. I reread Save Me the Waltz. I can't say that my reaction was any different on the second reading than it had been on the first. It doesn't get going until 'Alabama' (Zelda) starts taking ballet lessons and it doesn't really get going until she accepts the offer to dance in Naples. Just when the novel should take off in a flight of fancy about life in an Italian ballet troupe, it crashes back to earth and Alabama's dreary relationship with 'David' (Scott).
  17. I ordered my tickets for the Ashton Romeo and Juliet in March.
  18. Luke Schaufuss has announced via Instagram that he's joining Sarasota Ballet:
  19. The absence of even one Tudor work for ABT's Fall 2019 season left me curious as to what is going on with the Tudor Trust. I went over to the Trust's Web site and discovered that it is under construction: https://www.antonytudor.org/ More importantly, I discovered that Amanda McKerrow is now the Trustee for the Tudor repertory. Here is more detail regarding McKerrow's appointment: https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Antony-Tudor-Ballet-Trust-Announces-New-Amanda-McKerrow-As-New-Trustee-20181210 This part was particularly tantalizing: "James Jordan, Ballet Master for nearly thirty years at Kansas City Ballet and now Sarasota Ballet, will become Director of Research in the ongoing effort to preserve Mr. Tudor's work. Presently, he is compiling rare and rediscovered materials for the reconstruction of The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, which has not been performed since 1976."
  20. Rereading Acocella's essay again, here is the part with which I'm in complete agreement: "When the Paul Taylor company, on its big tour, stops in New York this fall, it will perform dances not just by Taylor but also by Pam Tanowitz, Kyle Abraham, and Margie Gillis. All these pieces were commissioned by Taylor before he died, but what do any of them really have to do with him?' Having gone to see the Limon company semi-regularly since 2004, I have often wondered what the newly commissioned 'contemporary' works have to do with the Limon repertory, which is a very specific thing. Slapping the 'humanist' tag on the new works doesn't obviate the fact that Expressionistic old school modern dance (as represented by Limon) doesn't have much to do with anti-Expressionistic contemporary dance.
  21. I finished Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast (the original Mary Hemingway edition) this weekend. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald play a very prominent part in the book with no less than three chapters -- "Scott Fitzgerald," "Hawks Do Not Share," and "A Matter of Measurements" -- devoted to them. Hemingway's depiction of Zelda is definitely unflattering but then that may say more about Hemingway than it does about Zelda. It wasn't exactly courageous of Hemingway to write what he did about the Fitzgeralds when they were long gone and couldn't defend themselves. Nevertheless, an interesting lead-in to my rereading Save Me the Waltz this summer.
  22. I can't answer your specific question but the attached link gives a history of Nureyev's involvement with Songs of the Wayfarer: https://nycdancestuff.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/maurice-bejarts-songs-of-the-wayfarer-1971-2/ Apparently, after the deaths of Paolo Bortoluzzi, Jorge Donn and Nureyev (all of whom were closely associated with the piece), Maurice Bejart rarely consented to let it be performed while he was alive. I think Bejart's foundation has eased up a bit on this since his death as it is now performed somewhat regularly in Europe. Rehearsal footage with Bejart, Bortoluzzi and Nureyev:
  23. The Limon company's experience is a unique (and perhaps unreplicable) one because, at the founding in 1946, Doris Humphrey was the artistic director and not Jose Limon. She set the programs, created new works, taught company class and was the in-house editor for Limon's works. After her death, Limon was never able to find someone to help pick up the slack. (I'm not sure he wanted too, either.) For some time, I've wondered what's been going on with the Humphrey repertory at Limon. With the exception of her Passacaglia, which the Limon company performed at Paul Taylor's request at the start of his modern dance project, the company hasn't performed any works of hers in over a dozen years. Has the company had a falling out with her son, who owns the rights? Or has the company found that the works no longer resonate in performance? I'm of the opinion that the Limon company should be maintaining the Humphrey works in repertory just as much as the New York City Ballet maintains the Jerome Robbins works in its repertory. Why they aren't is a bit of a mystery to me.
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