The long running science fiction show Dr. Who is well known for the wild adventures of it protagonist, an alien space and time traveler known as The Doctor, who battles bullies and injustice across the universe. Some of the show’s most poignant episodes however, are set right on earth. An episode from the shows more recent season finds the Doctor and her companions trying to thrwart the efforts of a time traveling parole who blames all of his hard times on the Civil Rights movement. He is determained to change the course of history by ensuring Rosa Parks never refuses to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus in 1955. At the end of the episode, they realize that the only way to ensure history plays out as it should is to remain on the fateful bus ride, ensuring that the bus is full enough that the driver will ask Rosa to give up her seat. This forces them to watch silently as Rosa refuses and is then arrested. The scene is set to …
Last Friday I wandered into the Panera after a long week and a busy day to finally eat lunch at 2:00. As a trudged over to the shelf to grab my bagged sandwich, I heard a familiar song drifting through the restaurant, Dispatch’s Two Coins. A wave of nostalgia washed over me as I slid into a vacant booth. Dispatch was a popular indie band when I was in college, and I have many memories of studying, parties, beach days, and bonfires with their music playing in the background. I even attended their huge reunion show at the Hatch Shell in Boston. Funnily enough, my future husband went to that concert as well. We wouldn’t meet until later though, and it would be years before we realized we were both there.
I have been a huge fan of Matthew Borne and his ballet company New Adventures since I saw their production of Sleeping Beauty on tour in 2013. His award winning productions usually lean toward the avant-garde, such as a gender swap production of Swan Lake. In Borne’s ballet version of Edward Scissorhands, he keeps Danny Elfman’s original score, and preserves the film’s pinnacle scene where Edward creates snow by scraping an ice sculpture for Kim. I especially love how Edward’s twitchy hand motions are carried over in the choreography.
Sarah Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson’s mournful duet Winter Song has become a staple for melancholy Christmas episodes on TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Brothers and Sisters, and the Vampire Diaries. For me, it’s references to changing seasons and quiet arrangement make it perfect listening before the winter solstice next Saturday.
Most of the new music I discover is Shazamed off of TV shows (you have no idea how long my True Detective playlist is.) One of my recent discoveries came during an episode of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix. I fell in love with Valerie Broussard‘s booming voice and the lyric’s to her song A Little Wicked, particularly the line “No one calls you honey, when you’re sitting on a throne.” Truer words have never been spoken.
This Sunday marks the start of the great migration of sorts in the US, as families begin to travel to reunite for the Thanksgiving holiday. I myself have only made a few longer treks for Thanksgiving. One of them was about 9 years ago, when my husband and I traveled from Massachusetts to North Carolina to surprise my mom Thanksgiving day. We actually braved flying out of Logan airport the morning of Thanksgiving. Admittedly there was a lot of things that could have gone wrong, but we were fortunate that our flight left on time, and everyone else traveling on our plane was determined to board as quick as possible to get where we were going. It was pretty nerve-racking, but the look of surprise on my mother’s face when we walked through the door made it all worth it. Of course, my husband and I have had other Thanksgiving traveling experiences where things did not go according to plan. An attempt to drive up to Massachusetts for Thanksgiving a few years ago ended before …
When Billy Joe Armstrong made his debut in the leading role for a feature film in 2016’s Ordinary World, the movie was less then well received. The accompanying soundtrack however, included a poignant song by Armstrong that had many convinced that he could have a second career as a folk singer. Sharing the same title as the film, Ordinary World was also included as the closing track on Greenday’s Revolution Radio. In 2017 they re-recorded the song with Miranda Lambert for the band’s greatest hits album.
I love finding classical covers of rock songs. There’s something about putting the two contrasting music styles together that almost feels taboo or illicit. There are a lot of musicians giving their favorite band’s songs a classical arrangement, but this version of System of a Down’s Chop Suey, played on a white Baroque Baby Grand Piano in a Bosendorger Showroom by Ukrainian pianist Vika, is one of my favorites. Vika writes all of her own arrangements, and posts some on flowkey for other musicians to try. If your not familiar with the song, the original System of a Down video is below hers for contrast.
A few years ago I bought a Halloween compilation with a mix of movie themes and dark classical music. After it downloaded, I noticed that the recording for Night on Bald Mountain was actually titled A Night on Bald Mountain. I spent a few minutes trying to google whether adding “A” to the beginning of the title was correct or not (did not find a definitive answer) and didn’t think much of of it after. Until this summer, when I finally bought a car with a USB connection that lets me connect my phone to my car’s stereo system. By default, it will play the first song alphabetically listed in my music library, which is A Night on Bald Mountain. Mussorgsky’s tone poem is now what I wind up listening to while I back out of my driveway. Which is fine with me, since Night on Bald Mountain was my favorite part of Fantasia growing up. Leopard Stowoski‘s blending of the piece with Ava Maria is the reason why I chose to walk down the …
Only in a Disney movie would the biggest fright in a horror movie be providing music for a skeleton dance party, and that’s exactly the position Mickey Mouse finds himself in Disney’s first horror themed cartoon. The cartoon had some difficulty getting passed censors, but was released in early December of 1929. My favorite part is the skeleton who plays himself like a xylophone and winces every time he hits his own head.