Saturday, October 24, 2009

Things Are Not As They Theme, Dept.

I recently tweeted the demise of composer Vic Mizzy. And that, in itself, is sad. The tweeting of it, I mean.

Previously: The bard Vic Mizzy has joined the Nine atop Mount Parnassus! Let us erect a monument in gleaming marble that will straddle the ages and offer up a hecatomb in his eternal honor!

Today: RT OMG Vic Mizzy hu? died u guyz!! #deadpool

Yes. We suck as a civilization.

Anyhoo, Vic Mizzy died. And in every American's DNA is encoded the fingersnaps of The Addams Family theme, which he wrote, and in every American's racial memory lurks the bantering theme for Green Acres, which he also wrote.

Now, sure, you have your "academy" poets with their MFAs and dog-eared Moleskines full of squinchy, purloined feet. But, as I've tried to show in the past, American popular lyric-writing kicks a lot of this Autumn Afternoons in Hartford shite in teh culo.

By way of demonstration, here are the lyrics for The Addams Family theme:

They're creepy and they're kooky,
Mysterious and spooky,
They're all together ooky,
The Addams Family.

Their house is a museum
Where people come to see 'em
They really are a screa-um,
The Addams Family.


So, get a witch's shawl on,
A broomstick you can crawl on,
We're gonna pay a call on
The Addams Family.

Okay? 'Nuff said.

Now, howzabout a little Green Acres?

He: Green acres is the place for me.
Farm livin' is the life for me.
Land spreadin' out so far and wide
Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.

She: New York is where I'd rather stay.
I get allergic smelling hay.
I just adore a penthouse view.
Dah-ling I love you but give me Park Avenue.

He:...The chores.
She:...The stores.
He:...Fresh air.
She:...Times Square

He: You are my wife.
She: Goodbye, city life.

Both: Green Acres, we are there!

I mean, can that be beat as an expository duet? One minute, six seconds; everything you need to know about the lead characters' relationship and about the premise of the show. Hell, you could do a three-act opera in 30 minutes with that kind of concision and economy! It's catchy, it's funny, you welcome it week after week.

Let me hitch my pants up to my tits, don my Henry-Fonda-in-On-Golden-Pond hat and affect my Andy Rooney croak...

What the H-E-double-swizzle-sticks happened to TV theme songs? Three shows I watch regularly--popular shows--have nothing that even vaguely resembles a theme. Lost? A hanging attackless chord. Heroes? Ten seconds of whirling flute and percussion. Stargate Universe? Talky expository bit a la Babylon 5 and Battlestar Galactica--Jesus, I watch a lot of sci-fi television--over rumbling symphonic bits, then done. Tell me that Lost wouldn't be improved with a Gilligan's Island-style theme. I think it might go something like this...

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
About a doughty set
That flew out from Australia's shores
Aboard a fragile jet.
The doc was a handsome, healing man,
Of stern and troubled mien.
A passenger, but not for long,
On flight eight-fifteen, on flight eight-fifteen.
&c., &c.

Granted, working one's way through all 14 billed main characters in the course of a theme might cut into each week's story a bit. But recapitulation is part of sonata form, so nyah.

At any rate, ave atque vale, Vic Mizzy. Know that countless generations will thrum the lyre and whack the tabor to your songs. Or not. But thanks, anyway.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

el pueblo unido jamas sera jodido, Dept.

Fiesta Latina: In Performance at the White House. Yes. Let me take a wild guess...Jimmy Smits and George Lopez as hosts? Yes! Gloria Estefan and either J.Lo or Marc Anthony? Yes and double yes! Los Lobos? Yes! Sheila E.? Yes! Well, that about taps it for Latin music/celebrities.

*ha ha!* I joke. No, I don't. That was about it, with the addition of Eva Longoria-whatever and Jose Feliciano. At one point, during the all-hands-on-deck finale, an al-Qaeda attack could have mooted the Latin Grammys for a generation.

High points: musical director Sheila E. and dad Pete Escovedo's dueting timbales on "Ran Kan Kan." Oddly watchable Marc Anthony's first, Spanish-language number. Jose Feliciano's Spanish-language version of the famous bit from the Concierto de Aranjuez. Homegirl Justice Sotomayor getting the big shout-out from BHO and a standing O from the audience. Sheila E. not having to do "The Glamorous Life." J.Lo not doing anything except introducing Marc Anthony.

Low points: personality-free kid with no real voice doing a reggaeton number. Skinny Mexican girl Thalia, not gifted with a strong set of pipes or much stage presence, doing some song and inviting Barry out for a dance--Michelle could've had her for lunch and been left hungry, but she graciously allowed the First Hubby to twirl a bit with the child. Gloria Estefan not doing "Conga."

No, but really: we're needing more Hispano-Latino celebs. 'Cause y'all are running poor Jimmy Smits ragged. He's barely had time to work in 20 years because he's too busy hosting the Latin Grammys or the Alma Awards or some shit.

Notable by their absence: my girl Jessica Alba, Cristina Aguilera, Carlos Santana, Ruben Blades, Shakira, all the great Latino musicians (Willie Colon, Eddie Palmieri) who pioneered the New York sound. I'm not sure what the rationale behind the invites was, 'cause I don't think that everyone on stage was Murrican. Hell, bring on Los Aterciopelados, Cafe Tacuba and Soda Stereo, for that matter.

At any rate, my goodness, but there are some doughy white people in Choc City. All the Latino pols filling two tables, they had to pack the house with gringos. Woof. On the beat, people. And two. And four. And two. And four.


Richardson '12. You heard it here first.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Sarah Palin, Her Booke, Dept.


Oh, Baby Jesus, thank you for me being alive in these times! In an earlier age, women and politicians--much less the two together like some wonderful cup-shaped confection of some sort--could not have had their balls-out shamelessness amplified for a global audience without the omnivorous news cycle feeding its own unattainable satiety. In a later age, we will all be breeding stock for giant ant warrior-mages. But now--and only now--in the overripe sweet spot of Western Civilization, can there be a "Sarah Palin." A woman so bereft of wit, culture, breeding, prudence and shame as to constitute a hapax legomenon of European-American political culture. And I've heard Michele Bachmann speak.

Look at her. Utterly, wilfully deaf to the little voice that arrests most of us before we make reeking asses of ourselves, before we act in ways that would embarrass a gang of Somali pirates, before we say things that a child of three would dismiss as jejune, unconsidered and reductive. Admirable, really, if only for her ability to take such limited natural gifts and parlay them into global fame and disproportionate power simply by being able to sniff the Zeitgeist and jump ass-first through a closed window to grab it.

Her appearance is a factor, of course. Just attractive enough, certainly for American politics. The thwarted beauty queen who unites the cute girls and the wannabes. And her sculpted backstory. The frontier hubby. The kids with the SUV names. The where-have-you-gone-Margaret-Mead? religious practices. But it's the tenacity, the disregard for common sense and received wisdom that makes her the toddler with the fork in a roomful of sockets who is apparently immune to electrocution.

Her meh-moir is already #1 on Amazon's best-seller list, driven to that height, no doubt, by the conservative bulk book-buying machine. I mean, do you know anyone who'd shell out 15 hard-earned simoleons to read delusional, self-justifying rants uninformed by logic or any grounding in Western political philosophy, literature or history? Heck, you can read that for nothin' over at! No, for the right wing in the good ol' U.S. of A., it's totally worth it to blow hundreds of thousands of someone else's dollars to be able to point to this book and say, "New York Times best-seller." (O, the lovely trees felled to support this vain deception. At least they will all soon return to the bosom of earth as landfill.) It's all part of the Plan. You know, The Plan?? The one where the Joker, having already crippled the United States by engineering the election (and re-election!) of George Wasteproduct Bush, schemes to deal the deathblow by elevating the Antichrist of Intellectualism to the highest office in the land? Boy, Batman really needs to pull his cowl out of his ass soon if we have any hope of surviving the Clown Prince of Crime's nefarious plot!

Can the nation be saved?!? Tune in again, kids! Same Bat-time! Same Bat-channel!