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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Roger (Finally) Answers Your Questions, Tosy

1. What is your biggest fear for your daughter?
That she'll become moody and cynical like her father.

2. What about your daughter are you most proud of?
Funny, I don't think of Lydia in terms of pride. Joy, yes.
I mean I'm happy that she's pleasant, often polite, often helpful, often using the potty. I know I'm thrilled that when we read this Barney story about being polite and Barney and Baby Bop are having peanut butter sandwiches, she says, "I can't eat that, I'm allergic." I'm pleased that she knows her parents' names, but doesn't refer to us by them anymore. (And if she does when she's 15, I'll take a page from the comic strip Zits and start calling her by one of the cutesy names I call her now.)
I think I'm unreasonably influenced by some recent report that suggests that a parent oughtn't to praise the child for the things that she is naturally (e.g., beautiful), but for the effort she makes, such as setting the table (quite accurately, and often without being asked), or remembering that a particular item that Carol bought from the store goes into a particular place in the medicine cabinet without prompting, even when the packaging is different. She's extremely observant, which of course cuts both ways.

3. What work of art (book, movie, whatever) are you the most invested in? Must read any article about it, have thought about it far too much, love to discuss it whenever an opportunity arises, etc.
I don't think I'm that invested these days in any one thing. Certainly, I'll read about the Beatles oeuvre, but not a particular album. Book? The Bible, I suppose, but that's so broad, and hardly exhaustive, since there are so many (sometimes contradictory) pieces about it. Or It. Movie? Maybe Annie Hall, but I wouldn't describe it as obsessive. My feeling about the movie may be, but not the need to read everything about it.
There was a time, though, I probably read everything about Sgt. Pepper. And I would get into heated debates at the time over Hearts and Bones with people who though that Paul Simon was a @#$%^&*! for removing Artie from the recording and me defending his artistic choice.

4. Name the saddest and most joyful pieces of music you can think of.
Sad depends on the mood. "Gone Away" by Roberta Flack for broken romance, e.g.
The In Memoriam music on ABC News This week, which is just a slower variation of the regular theme, where they scroll the Iraq and Afghanistan war dead US soldiers and Marines, always makes me a bit melancholy.
The Barber Adagio, especially at approximately 6 minutes into an 8-minute rendition; my late friend Donna George gave me a whole album of Barber adagios, so I'm always reminded of her.
But I guess I'll pick the adagio by Albinoni. There was this performance of it by Leo Mahigian on the violin and his son Peter on the organ. It was in the same program during which my church choir performed the Mozart Requiem. Leo's wife Arlene was a member of the choir. She became a very good friend to me, sort of a surrogate mother. However, she was too sick from cancer to sing, though she was at the performance in a wheelchair. Three weeks later, she died; I saw her the day before, and she squeezed my hand to let me know she still recognized me. There was an audiotape of the service that was available afterwards, and for about 10 years, every time I heard the Albinoni, whether or not it was that performance, I wept.
Joyful: tough. Lots of stuff. Sometimes, it the combination. I was putting together a mixed tape and it included Communications Breakdown by Led Zeppelin, followed by Barabajagal by Donovan. Not only was I pleased at how well the two pieces went together, but I was juiced to have the two former Yardbirds guitarists, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, back to back.
Anything with a good bass line (Keep On Running by the Spencer Davis Group, Hey Ya by OutKast). Anything where the folks performing seemed to be having fun (Cinnamon Girl by Neil Young comes to mind).
One of the first thing that came to mind - this will be different next time someone asks - was "Soul Sacrifice by Santana on Woodstock, especially seeing the movie in my mind's eye.
Just this past Sunday, the postlude our wonderful organist Nancy played was the famous Bach Toccata. Somewhere about 6 minutes into an 8-minute rendition (again), a most unexpected chord pops up. It always floors me. Then the last three chords send me into spasms of joy. This is much more true in person than listening to a recording.
But, separate from the a/v or in-person experience, I'm going today with a song I heard in May of 1971. I went to New Paltz to visit my girlfriend and we ended up breaking up - not my idea. Wounded, I hitched over to Poughkeepsie to see my old friend Steve. He was turning me on to different music, including the first album by some young singer named Bonnie Raitt, who he had seen. But THE song that caught my attention was the first cut on an album "That's The way God Planned It" by Billy Preston, an album produced by one George Harrison, BTW. The cut is "Do What You Want To". It starts off relatively slowly, but really moves by the end. I know this for sure because I had to listen to it again and again. (Neil Young's "When You Dance, I Can Really Love" speeds up that way, too.) Anyway, I was (mostly) out of my funk by the time I got back home in Binghamton.

5. If you HAD to act in a remake of a film, what film would it be and who would you want to play?

Young Frankenstein. I'd be the Monster. Always wanted to be a song-and-dance man. BTW, I've read that there are plans to bring that classic Mel Brooks film parody to Broadway. Could be interesting, though Broadway, at least on the musical side, has become as cautious as network TV (CSI: Albany?) in trying to replicate the tried and true (Hairspray, Mamma Mia, etc.)

"Pardon me, boy, is this the Transylvania station?"
"Yah, Yah."


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