Kid(s) A

I wish I had a music teacher like this when I was in school. This guy gets all these kids to sing Optimistic by Radiohead, and they killed it. So good to see young kids from diverse backgrounds exposed to artists like this. Check out this guys You Tube page. They cover some pretty good songs, not just the modern crap that passes for music these days…

Pure Evil

Dimitri Shostakovich wrote this (2nd movement, Symphony #10) as a musical portrait of Stalin, who had harrassed him directly and indirectly throughout his career.  This is pure malevolence, published after Stalin was safely dead.  While Uncle Joe was alive, DS was mostly confined to putting out government approved, “socalist realist” garbage, while keeping much of his “real” work private.  Occasionally he could put one over on the Soviets and follow the letter of their requirements while mocking them.  One cool thing is that in the finale of this same symphony, he has a theme based on his initials, DSCH, vie for dominance against the Stalin theme from this movement.  DSCH wins.  Artistic revenge at its finest.  “He who laughs last, laughs longest.”

The conductor seems a little too into his hair, and I’m not sure why he appears to be grinning during this grim business.    But you’ve gotta give him credit, his musicians are playing the hell out of this.  He made his reputation whipping these young Venezuelans into a respectable unit.  He’s since gone on to greener pastures in LA.

Dumbo Redux

I know that we all ride hard for Tim Burton, but I haven’t even seen this yet. Am I kicked off the blaaaaaaaaaaagh?

”Ho-hum until it takes a turn toward the fascinatingly weird, the movie is a welcome declaration of artistic independence for Burton, who often strains against aesthetic and industrial restrictions. Watching him cut loose (more recklessly than his flying baby elephant) is by far the most unexpected pleasure of this movie, which dusts off the 1941 animated charmer with exhilaratingly demented spirit.”