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Prince the Artist Formerly

Everybody has something to say about Prince, RIP, the artist formerly known by a pseudo-hieroglyph. Of his own design, it was pseudo-silent and un-typeable so he became "Formerly Known as Prince." Before that he was the single-named Madonna-esque "Prince".   The media's gushing last chance push of the Prince back catalog reminds me how completely the "independent" maverick was integrated in the pop crap industry. 46343

Here’s to the ladies who lunch – everybody laugh

"Ladies Who Lunch" used to mean the idle spouses of financially successful husbands, as one New Yorker cartoonist fondly dubbed them, his Grand Dames, until Broadway in the mid-seventies where Stephen Sondheim subverted the idiom for Elaine Stritch's COMPANY showstopper which exploded the pretense of the ladies' self-serving philanthropy. Forty years on, out in the provinces, the expression adorns a Colorado Springs radio show on what is an otherwise erudite classical music station, at lunchtime, for ladies. Cultural illiterates too, probably. Imagine thinking that Titanic means big like Titan, absent the hubris. My neighbors could happily move back to the farm after they'd seen Paree, wondering what idiot decreed "you can't go home again." 33029

A song about building the American Dream, railroads, towers, war, then being tossed aside to beg for change

Most Americans know the lyrics of this depression-era song. Now they know what it was about.   They used to tell me I was building a dream, and so I followed the mob, When there was earth to plow, or guns to bear, I was always there right on the job. They used to tell me I was building a dream, with peace and glory ahead, Why should I be standing in line, just waiting for bread? 29734

Coppelia and the Viennese Hesitation

If you are hardwired with a cultural affliction like mine, if you find yourself with a compulsive affinity for the waltz, I'll wager you will also be a sucker for what's called the Viennese Hesitation. It was just such a hook that led me to a Slav melody that immersed me into a ballet called Copplia, two days ago, and I still haven't surfaced.   Any fan of ballet, or parent whose child has studied dance, will know about this beguiling comic classic. To the rest of us unwashed, Copplia or The Girl with Enamel Eyes, draws a blank, likewise even of its composer, Leo Delibes. Most of us outside the world of dance think ballet is all nutcrackers and swans, or the usual literary themes transposed to choreography. What are ballets but silent films to opera's talkies? In today's terms, ballet scores were the first soundtracks, and if you find new film scores overwrought, you might be delighted to alight on Delibes and his clever heroine, yes, Swanilda. 23021

Love me I’m a Liberal – Phil Ochs

"In every American community you have varying degrees of shadiness. One of the shadiest of these is the Liberals. Ten degrees to the left of center in good times, Ten degrees to the right of center if it affects them personally." -Phil Ochs, 1967

John B. Spencer’s lost Christmas lyric for Will Your House Be Blessed?

Gathering songs for a Christmas compilation, I went looking through different versions of "Will This House be Blessed?" by John B. Spencer. While the forgiveness spirit is in keeping with the season, everyone else's cover lacked whatever it was I remembered tied the song literally to Christmas. I finally found Spencer's original recording and there it was, an Easter reference actually, but too much irreligious specificity apparently for subsequent renditions. 21142

Your father’s Lili Marlene, specifically

On the subject of historical misconceptions, you might say I'm hugely sentimental. So the tale of Lili Marlene catches me up like a honey trap. What does the name conjure for you? A Nazi Mata Hari? A fictional musical persona beloved by soldiers on both sides of the Good War? While even antiwar sentiments wax nostalgic about its universal love-conquers-all popularity, the WWII melody evokes romantic memories fueled by dueling propagandas. And when a victorious meme writes the history, it can erase its footprints, leading from what was effectively a literary rape. 21092

Rufus, Caccini, Kosma, French Chanson

Rufus Wainright's GOING TO A TOWN (-THAT'S ALREADY BEEN BURNED DOWN in which he famously sings "I'm so tired of America") replicates, it's true, the jazz progression of AUTUMN LEAVES, and websmart-asses have pointed out the piano part is actually identical to the accompaniment of AVE MARIA by Baroque composer Giulio Caccini. At best reflecting Wainright's unconscious classical pedigree. Fail. 15638

US health industry tells Vic to snuff it

Vic Chesnutt took his own life on Christmas Day. By coincidence, he'd just given an upbeat interview to NPR's Fresh Air in spite of an ongoing battle with his health care providers. The segment seemed to pierce the celebrity veil we imagine insulates our talent castes from the worries of everyman. When he died, I reflected on the interview. I was reluctant to mar a eulogy with the villainy of the US medical system -- but then NPR re-aired the piece, en memoriam, minus the damning testimony. They added in its place a remembrance by three colleagues who concluded: "To say poor health care killed Vic Chesnutt would be very reductive." 13225

The Famous Oprah Video punks who?

You find it by searching for FAMOUS + OPRAH + VIDEO. Because hyperbole arcs the hyperlink. Allegedly, the viral clip is being removed as fast as websites are putting it up. I'll bet the reason would have more to do with James Frey and Augusten Burroughs baldfaced disingenuity than copyright infringement or Oprah being embarrassed by pedestrian plagiarism. The performance by the Black Eyed Peas, taped live in downtown Chicago for the 24th season of Oprah's talk show, purports to ignite a spontaneous dance, to Oprah's joyful astonishment. While the video may be a crowd-pleaser, it certifies corporate music's lack of originality, and the American TV tube's despicable boobness. 10376

Owl City writes lyrics most foul, shitty

That's it, I've hit my generation gap with new music. Jonas Brothers I could abide, and Hannah, Britney, Hanson and the boy bands, because pop is fun. But holy mother of god Owl City's lyrics are AWFUL. 10474

Pianist Krystian Zimerman to boycott US

"Get your hands off my country" said Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on April 26, announcing that he would not be returning to the US because he could no longer play in a country whose military wants to control the world. When several dozen audience members rose and walked out, Zimerman responded "some people, when they hear the word military, start marching."

Singing a song of angry men

Do you hear the people sing, singing a song of angry men? It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again. When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums, There is a life about to start when tomorrow comes. 7455

Redneck Mother Fucker

Brownshirt, Blackshirt, Blimp-neck, Dittohead, Wingnut, Cracker --the term you're looking for is REDNECK. Musically, Randy Newman gave it humanity, and Jerry Jeff Walker gave it love, and the Grateful Dead tweaked his lyric to capture what I think is the essence of the good ol' boy: his thinking man self image. 7260

Scarborough blazing scarlet battalions

I didn't remember Simon & Garfunkel's Scarborough Fair / Canticle being an antiwar refrain, even as the Canticle interwove its haunting soldier imagery. Apparently the Canticle was a retooling of Paul Simon's The Side of a Hill, adding "Tracing a sparrow on snow-crested ground ... War bellows, blazing in scarlet battalions." 7213

Looking down on petty usefulness

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died on this day in 1791 at the age of forty-five -- allegedly at the hands of friend and fellow composer Antonio Salieri -- while composing his final work, the Requiem. . .   If only everyone could feel the power Of harmony like you! But no, for then The world could not exist; no one would want To spend time taking care of lifes low needs; All would be given over to free art. We are but few, we chosen, happy idlers Who look disdainfully at petty usefulness And form a priesthood serving only beauty. Isnt that so? But now I feel unwell. . . .     -Mozart, moments before his death, in Aleksandr Pushkin's play Mozart and Salieri.

Tom O’Boyle a local Broadmoor treasure

COLORADO SPRINGS- Every Thursday at noon, over the summer, the City Auditorium hosts what they call a sack lunch concert. You can join several hundred mostly retired devotes to hear a concert performance on an old wind organ. Sometimes the keyboardist will improvise an accompaniment to an old single-reel comedy. Often the star of the show is none other than Tom O'Boyle. 4339

Cindy Sheehan & Public Enemy at DNC

DENVER- DNC demonstration organizers Recreate 68 announced today that Cindy Sheehan will be speaking at its END THE OCCUPATION rally on Sunday. Sheehan will join Cynthia McKinney and other luminaries at the kick-off of R68's antiwar activities surrounding the DNC. The bigger news today was that Public Enemy will be coming together for the cause with a free concert on Tuesday afternoon, August 26, at Denver's Civic Center Park. 4295

Big Rock Candy Mountain unsafe for kids

Here was a true bit of American folk wisdom, Harry McClintock's everyman philosophy whose context was whitewashed for the sake of children and the Protestant work ethic. The original lyrics of the hobo's nirvana, Big Rock Candy Mountain, where omitted or reformed, are reprinted in bold here. 4153

R68 Festival of Democracy band line-up

The R68 Festival of Democracy Music Schowcase fliers have hit the street. The 2-evening lineups includes Boulder bands BLACK SHEEP BRIGADE, DARIO ROSA, NIGHT KITCHEN and WHISKEY BLANKET. 3957

Carla Bruni’s Chrysanthemum: Sarkozy

What's left for Carla Bruni-Sarkozy? Heiress, supermodel, pop diva, Queen of France. Now everyone's mind is on her chrysanthemum.   Follow Jane Birkin to Serge Gainsbourg to Citizen Kane to find it's French for Rosebud. 3726

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