My colleague Michael Sheehan recent offered a tip of the cap to a local staging of Frost/Nixon, which starred our old friend Stuart O’Steen. If anything, Mike was understated in his praise of the show and O’Steen’s performance. Anytime the big-city Denver Post says nice things about a community theater production up in the hinterlands of Longmont you know something special is afoot.
After the show, as we waited for a chance to congratulate the cast, my companions and I found ourselves discussing a topic that has come to intrigue me a great deal: the curious rehabilitation of Richard Nixon. Read more
The other night I’m settling back to watch the game and out comes Kelly Rowland to sing the national anthem. And to nobody’s surprise, we’re treated to … the obligatory butchering of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Such is the mode of pop music these days – it isn’t acceptable, where a G appears in the sheet music, to sing a G. No, no. Instead, the diva (and everybody is a diva these days) runs a G scale or two, performs a series of vox acrobatica in the general vicinity of G, then moves onto the next note, which also apparently needs a good bit of “interpreting.” Not “arranging” – some actual arranging wouldn’t be a bad idea at all. But arranging and freelance improvisational histrionics are not the same thing.
I guess it’s imperative, if one expects to be respected in the disposable world of pop music, that one must make the song one’s own. And as much as I hate to say it, I think we have to blame Hendrix. Read more
Pulitzer- and Emmy-winner William Henry‘s famous polemic, In Defense of Elitism (1994), argues that societies can be ranked along a spectrum with “egalitarianism” on one end and “elitism” on the other. He concludes that America, to its detriment, has slid too far in the direction of egalitarianism, and in the process that it has abandoned the elitist impulse that made it great (and that is necessary for any great culture). While Henry’s analysis is flawed in spots (and, thanks to the excesses of the Bush years, there are some other places that could use updating), he brilliantly succeeds in his ultimate goal: crank-starting a much-needed debate about the proper place of elitism in a “democratic” society.
Along the way he spends a good deal of time defining what he means by “egalitarianism” and “elitism.” Read more