tealin: (Default)
My iPod decided today that I was going to listen to the Doctor Horrible soundtrack.



So much for getting an early night.
tealin: (catharsis)
BRB gonna start a revolution –


I wonder sometimes why I hang on to all that costume stuff, but then someone says 'I'm doing a Les Mis spoof thing!' and I leap up and say 'I have things for that!!'

You're out of luck for the swingin' 60s, though, so don't ask.

RED BARN

Feb. 1st, 2013 11:20 am
tealin: (catharsis)
If you are looking out for the next totally addictive musical soundtrack ...



You can help make it into a real thing that you can play on your very own music-playback device! It's sort of like a Kickstarter but with a different name! Did I mention this play and the Independent Shakespeare Company are awesome!! (The video doesn't really do it justice, as there is no substitute for being there, but it is a glimpse!)

Have some more exclamation marks!

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

You can hear two sample songs here!
tealin: (Default)
Film Crit Hulk, who brought us such classics as Hero's Journey is Crap and Five Act Structure Is Ace has turned his gamma radiation-enhanced film criticism powers on Les Miserables.

BUT BECAUSE OF THE CINEMATOGRAPHY FLAWS, YOU ABSOLUTELY DO NOT CONNECT TO IT AS WELL AS YOU SHOULD. IT IS CONSTANTLY TRYING TO PUSH YOU AWAY FROM ALL THE THINGS THAT IT DOES WELL.

AND THAT IS TRULY HEARTBREAKING.

BECAUSE EVERYONE DESERVES A GREAT LES MIS.

Couldn't have come close to saying it as well as that, Film Crit Hulk!

You can find the whole long but very interesting article here, complete with all-caps and occasional cursing, but dangit, this is important.

Aside from pointing out specifically where Les Mis went wrong, this article is a really good primer for people who don't know much/anything about cinematography, and why it's so important to a film, why its weakness in this department made Les Mis a weaker film than it should have been by all other counts, and why film people get so huffy about this sort of thing come awards season. Someday I'm going to put together a post with screencaps and drawings that lays out what I thought was wrong with the cinematography, but Film Crit Hulk is vastly more informed on the subject, and this article is definitely prerequisite reading.


Yeah okay I like drawing Tom Hooper.

(A thousand thanks to Stephani for pointing me at this link!)
tealin: (catharsis)
Disney screens Best Picture nominees for employees every year, and yesterday was the turn of Les Miserables. Despite being underwhelmed the first time I saw it, I thought seeing it at the back of a small theatre with the best possible projection and sound would warrant giving it a second chance, and boy am I glad I did!

It still has cinematography issues, and major editing flaws which I didn't even notice the first time around thanks to being preoccupied with the shot choices, but seeing it smaller, and louder, and for the second time, so directorial decisions weren't surprising ... I really really really really liked it.

If my first reaction to the movie was this:


Then last night it was more like this:


The oddest thing was feeling like I was watching a completely different performance from Russell Crowe. Can't even begin to explain that, but I'm not complaining.

This comes as something of a relief, because I listened to my favoured recording of the musical last week, and found myself constantly reflecting upon how much better I liked the movie, musically and dramatically. This was no small surprise, let me tell you, because I love my Complete Symphonic Recording and I do not let go of beloved things lightly. I was worried I was in an untenable middle space in which I was not satisfied to listen to my soundtrack, nor to watch the film, and would have to wait until it came out on DVD just to listen to the film ... but that has been happily resolved.

Then again, I may have been more receptive than otherwise because I was keyed up on Hamlet [unrelated story]. But that was merely an effective counter to the people sitting behind my friend and me, one of whom would mutter audibly about the characters every so often, and the other would sometimes make a noise somewhere between a snore and a grumbly off-key humming-along, which would have been annoying if it hadn't sounded so hilarious, especially during "Bring Him Home." I tried picturing what that noise sounded like and got a bad attack of the giggles.

tealin: (catharsis)
There was no waiting in the Noodle household: we saw Les Miserables yesterday afternoon.

As usual, my 'review' is going to make it sound like I didn't like it. I actually liked about 90% of it; the problem was that the other 10% made the 90% really hard to watch.

So, for the record, here is a list of things I love about Tom Hooper's Les Mis:

- The new orchestrations – OMG the new orchestrations – I love them and want to re-record the orchestra retroactively on my London Cast album, like, right now.
- Production design in general
- The vast majority of the acting
- The vast majority of the casting
- The location design around the ABC Café
- The lyrics changes and additions (and I don't like change usually, especially in something so close to my heart), especially ones that brought in more historical perspective and/or moments from the book.* The new verse in Gavroche's solo renders my historical costume post more or less irrelevant! Thanks, Gavroche!
- I actually liked the new song, which was a big surprise because I never like the new songs they put in old musicals. I thought it came at a good moment in the story and did a useful job of adding a dimension to Valjean's character arc, giving us a moment to let things gel before diving into a new pool, and wasn't bad musically either.
- The slight modifications to the timeline in the first half of the movie
- Foreshadowing
- Little things subtly but deliberately placed within the frame which reflect or comment upon the scene
*I have not read the book (I know, I know) but I have picked up information from various adaptations and conversation with people who have read it, so I can fake having read it well enough to recognise things from the source material.

With the exception of some of the timeline changes in the latter half of the movie, there was really only one thing I had a problem with. I am aware, though, that it might be something most people won't notice; I'm going to rant about it under a cut so that I don't plant awareness of it in your mind and ruin what might be a perfectly rewarding cinematic experience. So, no spoilers in the traditional sense of the word, but nevertheless, spoilers ahead:

Sometimes, it's all about the presentation. )

So there you go, internet, you can stop asking me if I've seen Les Mis now. :) It's definitely worth seeing, my own misgivings aside ... but you can probably expect some expansion upon what I've said above in the coming days as I process it and/or find illustrative screencaps.
tealin: (catharsis)
The ISC has added a few shows to their run of Red Barn, which I know I have mentioned before but is an awesome original period murder mystery* musical. So now you can see it TONIGHT! (there is still time to buy tickets; the show's at 8) TOMORROW! (though that's a fundraiser, just so you know) SUNDAY AFTERNOON! And also November 29, December 1 and 2. Once you see it you will know why this photo, which they just posted on their Facebook, is so delightful in a creepytastic way:



They've also put up a YouTube video of one of the songs, to go with the recordings of two other ones.

If you're near LA, do try to catch this show! It's not every day (or year) you can get in on an actually-really-good new musical.

*OK, it's not really a mystery because it's pretty clear whodunit, but it's that sort of thing, y'know.
tealin: (catharsis)
Until Sunday you can listen to all of last week's dreadfully exciting revolution all in one piece!

The amount of romance in my soul could probably fill a decorative pillbox, but yesterday's episode melted even my tiny frozen heart with the best reunion EVER. Aaaawwwwwww!! And if the total collapse of the revolution didn't wring your heart dry, the copious bonus helpings of a naive young man's survivor's guilt will finish it off for you.

     

When you spend seven years of your life in Utah, a certain period of costume and hairstyle only mean one thing. But Victor Hugo is here to help. MARIUS DE PONTMERCY: TAKING BACK 1832.

While I was drawing at the zoo on Sunday I thought: Eponine. Then I thought: Loisel. It was meant to be. Drawing these things in my sketchbook is never going to be any sort of profitable enterprise so I can steal him blind. It's what Eponine would do.
tealin: (catharsis)
We interrupt our regular programming of idealistic men dying needlessly in pursuit of their goals to bring you ... um ... idealistic men dying needlessly in pursuit of their goals in slightly more archaic costumes!

I've been working a lot this week. (A lot.) The coincidence of that with there being a thing on the radio that I quite like, and a number of meetings in which I do mostly listening, means that it spills into my sketchbook somewhat.

I feel a bit like I got a box for my birthday once that was beautiful in itself and filled with lovely and interesting things, the delights of which I have enjoyed thoroughly for many years in many different ways, but only just now I've found a little sub-compartment that I've overlooked and it turns out to be crammed with awesome.

And that awesome is named Combeferre.

Doodle doodle doodle, and a tomato )
tealin: (catharsis)
I have been wanting to do this for, I believe, seven years, but have never got around to seeing it to completion. In fact it has been sitting in my head so long I began to wonder if maybe I had finished it at some point and just forgotten about it. Naturally I decided that my busiest week in months was the best time to make it happen. At long last, the latent madness:


Goaded into existence in no small part by BBC7's rerunning of their Les Miserables, which I can finally listen to in its entirety, and am enjoying very much. The omnibus of last week's episodes (starting roughly from when the action shifts to Paris, in the musical) can be found here and lasts till Sunday. This week's episodes so far are 16, 17, and 18.

ETA: This may make less sense to you if you don't know what Bugs is saying is actually a line delivered by Javert. Check out the Complete Symphonic Recording, it's the whole show and so much better than the ubiquitous Original Broadway Cast recording!
tealin: (mwahaha)
THIS JUST IN: a thoroughly decent clip from Re-Animator: The Musical!

Better than coffee! (If you don't mind starting your day with plagiarism, a nice beheading, and some reagent...)

THANKS [profile] octaveleap!
tealin: (catharsis)
Man, I can think of about four – no, five – things I ought to be doing right now that are not drawing fictional characters from 1950s Hollywood, but nonetheless ...

Fictional characters from 1950s Hollywood! )

Someone please stop me before I write an essay on why I am right on how Joe should be played and every theatre production ever, it seems, is wrong. STOP ME.
tealin: (catharsis)
Dreams are not enough to win a war,
Out here they're always keeping score;
Beneath the tan, the battle rages.
Smile a rented smile, fill someone's glass,
Kiss someone's wife, kiss someone's ass,
We do whatever pays the wages.

Sunset Boulevard, headline boulevard,
Getting here is only the beginning –
Sunset Boulevard, jackpot boulevard,
Once you've won, you have to go on winning.



Sunset Boulevard has just run at the regional theatre in my parents' town, which inspired me to dig up the soundtrack again and give it a listen (or three). It's one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's more overlooked musicals, and to be fair it doesn't have the memorable and diverse tunes of his earlier stuff, but it makes exemplary use of leitmotif and my obsession with it a few years ago taught me most of what I know about story construction.

I appreciated it before, but there are some aspects of it that are so much more resonant when you've seen the L.A. entertainment industry from the inside ...

I wonder if I should dig up the storyboard I half-thumbnailed for the last scene between Joe and Betty ... hmm.
tealin: (introspect)
I haven't mentioned Disney's latest animated release on this blog because I am incapable of being objective about it. When it comes to Tangled (formerly Rapunzel) I have what some like to call 'a troubled history,' and others simply sum up as 'issues.' These are of an entirely personal nature and have little or nothing to do with the actual content of the film, rather my experience with its creation, and so aren't relevant to any other member of the audience, and my going on about them would benefit no one (even if I were allowed to do so).

Instead I will tell you about a droll association: I first started at Disney just after Sweeney Todd had been released, and around the time the DVD came out I was working on an animation test with one of the characters in Rapunzel. I had very little time to do what turned out to be some very challenging animation, so I spent some very late nights at the studio slaving away at it while listening to the movie on my computer (and turning around to watch my favourite parts). I often could be found stalking the hallways of Rapunzel art in the wee hours while whistling 'Johanna: Reprise,' a Happy Working Song if ever I heard one. It shouldn't have come as a surprise that the two films became inextricably linked in my mind, but I didn't notice it until they changed direction on the movie and I found myself with a sudden, intense, irrational craving for some Sondheim/Burton bloodletting.


I guess they share a certain preoccupation with hair ...

I saw the finished Tangled on Saturday. On Sunday I watched Sweeney Todd again. It seemed only appropriate.
tealin: (catharsis)
Last Friday's Front Row had a segment on a revival of Aspects of Love and one on the photographer for Shackleton's famous and aptly-named Endurance expedition.

I am not ashamed to be a fan of musicals, yea, even of Andrew Lloyd Webber. I've probably memorized every note of Phantom, Joseph, and Jesus Christ Superstar, and learned an awful lot about story structure, character, and the cathartic arc from the years I was obsessed with Sunset Boulevard. Aspects of Love, though ... )

Now obviously I am much more into Scott than Shackleton (or, rather, the Terra Nova than the Endurance, as the actual leaders of each expedition are not what hold my interest) but ... )

... And to round it all off the final segment is on 'mockbusters,' with emphasis on Megapiranha. Oh, Front Row, you are so well-rounded.
tealin: (Default)
This started out as a tiny drawing of Rockin' Judas (see JCS post below). At some point in my life I saw a photo or clip of one production where Judas wore a leather jacket, one thing led to another, and now I can't help picturing him as Crowley. Which, you know, works. Then as I was drawing him he kind of turned into David Tennant for a moment, which, you know, also works: he'd probably make a really good Crowley. So take your pick! He is who you like! And I managed to scrounge up enough old artwork that I hardly needed to put in any effort this Lent (says the person just finishing her dinner break at 10:20 pm and going back to work for a few hours) so look who's coming out ahead! YEAH!

By the way, would anyone be entertained if I posted more of my teenage comic? I ought to scan the whole thing anyway, and if it's got an audience I might as well post it as it gets scanned, but I don't want it to get annoying. I promise the drawing and writing get better (but not before the hilariously awful Genie makes an appearance ... and disappearance).
tealin: (catharsis)
It was a tradition in the household in which I lived during most of my time in Canada that we'd come home from church and put on some loud choral music we could sing along with while we made brunch. Sometimes it was Carmina Burana, sometimes Mozart's Requiem, but during Lent, especially towards Holy Week, more often than not it was Jesus Christ Superstar. I realized last week how much I missed that, so on my way home from church I stopped in the CD store and found a copy – it wasn't the original cast, in fact I couldn't find a mention of the production or cast on it anywhere, but I got it anyway because it was the only complete recording they had, and might as well expand my horizons a little. Differences ...  )

Has anyone else noticed that an inordinate number of Webber's musicals are about the ramifications of fame?

Anyway, it's been a long time since I listened to it, and it got me thinking again about how controversial it is in some circles. I'm not surprised, because I know people will get offended at anything, but ... see, my mom spent all of maybe five minutes explaining the premise to me when I was a child, and even though I've never seen a performance and I don't recall ever hearing the whole musical before college, just that explanation had a profound effect on my perception of the Passion. Even now it's still my favourite dramatic interpretation of it, and the focus on the power of the fickle mob probably predisposed me to René Girard's mind-bending theories. I started to write a point-by-point list guessing at what people might find offensive and then explaining why they're full of crap, but it started to get really long so I stopped ... might post it someday if anyone's interested but I don't have the time right now to finish it or to join the conversation it might start. Instead I decided to offend more people by illustrating a mondegreen! Left-Handed Blasphemy )
tealin: (Default)
Behold the glory of JIN KIM'S SWEENEY.

Yes. Yes. That is it.

By the way, I sure hope this is all just a flood of traffic slowing things down because if not, your new servers are pretty crummy, LJ.
tealin: (Default)
Yesterday I rediscovered Sunset Boulevard ... It's been more than a year since I listened to it and I've never done so in LA before, which adds an extra dimension of whoa. I drained my iPod batteries on it yesterday. Also of note: the renewed addiction to the title song, which is cut 25 on my special personal recut of the London Cast Recording.* Track order yesterday went something like this:
1, 2, 3, ... 24, 25, 25, 25, 25, 26, 27, ... 42, 43, 44, 25, 25, 25, 1, 2, 3 ... 25, 25, 26, 25, 25, 25, 26, 27 ... 43, 44, 25, 39**, 25, 25, 25, 25 (pause) 25
You get the idea.
Incidentally, if Norma were a powerful witch and she transfigured Joe into a chimp at the end of the play, then it could be a circular story, as long as you leave out the continuity of the swimming pool, but that isn't mentioned in the recording.
footnotes )


Then, today, I rediscovered the soundtrack to Pirates 3, which I had semi-intentionally not listened to since I was down here this summer because I associate it so strongly with where I was interning then and working now and didn't want to dilute it. The movie may be so much twaddle but the soundtrack is just fantastic, easily the best part of the film. When I heard it for the first time back in May I was instantly plunged into a Redwall mood the likes of which I haven't known since I was about 15, and a shadow of this came back today, so I did some doodles:
Photobucket
(click to make biggarrr)

musical quote geekitude )

So, now I want to finish my Sunset board and draw small furry animals killing each other, with a sprinkling of tortoises and stone cities because I'm trying (unsuccessfully) to read Small Gods, and that Sweeney Todd comic strip I've finally got an idea for ... I suppose this all proves that the crucial ingredient I've been missing over the last few inspirationless months has been an overwhelming workload that precludes any drawing for fun.

Hurrah.

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