The Coiled Sexual Power of a Jungle Cat

Sandy Eggo offers a spectacular fireworks display each year, at five coordinated locations along the waterfront — three of which are visible from the hillock above Stinque World Domination Headquarters, a view only exceeded by the port side of passenger jets landing at Lindbergh Field.

But as good as it is, our favorite fireworks display remains the one we saw in 1979, in black-and-white, in a Eugene movie theater.

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They have movies in Eugene? I did not know that.

To celebrate our nation’s special day, in remembrance of Paul Revere’s ride to save the silverware from the English, we watched This is the Army a wartime propaganda extravaganza the first hour of which was pretty damn fine. Then it went bonkers. But there was a charming perf by the young and handsome Ronnie Raygun. My heart was warmed.

I liked that movie when I saw it. Pop quiz. Who did the orchestration? No, it wasn’t Gershwin. Here’s another clip of Gershwin at his glamorous best. Orchestration by Bill Broehn. The number is less than half its length in the show but is still charming. Great song. The Broadway set is by Robin Wagner.

@Benedick HRH KFC: Link no work.

BTW the ad I’m seeing is asking me if I’m interested in meeting local gay men. No, thank you, but if I were 40 and single, there’s a 6 foot tall redhead I’d call.

Happy B-Day US America. Just don’t overeat today.

@Benedick HRH KFC: I see that you are tagged below the video. What was your role in the production?

@Dodgerblue: Didn’t know I was. I was in it. I played a half-mad effete Limey. It was quite a stretch. And yes I sang and danced. Though not like that.

I think that song is so airborne and full of big-city swank.

@Benedick HRH KFC: They make it look so easy. I am a danger to myself and others out on the dance floor.

@Dodgerblue: Don’t they? The result of talent and many, many hours of rehearsal.

@Benedick HRH KFC: Pop quiz. Who did the orchestration?

I’m going to cheat, grab the vinyl, and declare Ferde Grofé.

I’m going to further cheat, because maybe I knew this twenty-five years ago, but have long forgotten, that Ferde took Gershwin’s two-piano arrangement and tarted it up for Paul Whiteman’s orchestra.

@nojo: Ding ding ding. You win. I think it’s very interesting that he was held in quite low esteem by the music establishment as composer (Grand Canyon Suite which ends with a very grand tune) but was widely regarded as the best orchestrator in the business by people like Ellington and Gershwin.

@Benedick HRH KFC: I vaguely remember playing Grand Canyon Suite on the raddio. But I don’t remember anything else about it.

@Benedick HRH KFC: Hard to tell where those talents from. Hack trumpet player from Nebraska, Neal Hefti, was fired from his first job out east for not being able to sight read the charts. He was a natural arranger even in high school. Could site down with grand-staff paper and a piano and throw together an arrangement in an evening. Went on to orchestrate for Harry James, Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson, Count Basie, on and on.

@FlyingChainSaw: And wrote the Batman TV theme. You never know what’s gonna stick.

@nojo: @Benedick HRH KFC: It was an annually recurring assignment in my elementary school art class for the teacher to play Grand Canyon Suite, particularly On the Trail, while we drew pictures to match the music. We did the same thing for Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite. Every year. It makes me sad to realize many school kids don’t have any such formative experiences now that funds for art and music classes are nonexistent.

@Dodgerblue: You would totally have a shot with Liz Kucinich. Just don’t tell FCS.

@flippin eck: All I really remember about school is band (Sixth Grade on) and drama (high school). They were my sports, and without them, I may have had an experience more like all those movies. As it was, I had a great time, and probably learned more through osmosis than in conventional classes.

The programs were well-funded in those years, although we still had to sell candy bars for special occasions. Part of that was the benefit of growing up in a college town, although from what I’ve heard lately, times are much tougher there.

I used to be able to see the west side fireworks from my building’s roof until some fucking developer put up a fucking condo building with a fucking Trader Joe’s in it that BLOCKS THE VIEW OF THE FIREWORKS.

@Dodgerblue: Hey, it’s your move in our scrabble game with baked.

@blogenfreude: The fog blocks the view of the fireworks every 4th of July here. I don’t know why SF and Berkeley even bother to do shows.

@Benedick HRH KFC: I remain loyal to Fairway – went to Trader Joe’s twice and he had nothing I wanted.

@blogenfreude: Trader Joe only really makes sense in CA.

@SanFranLefty: I’m on the road with my iPad, and Wordscraper requires Flash. You’ll need to wait until next week to embarrass me again with your superior vocabulary and cunning.

@Benedick HRH KFC: I tried to fuck Trader Joe, but all he wanted was rough trade for some frozen Aussie beef and dried wasabi peas.

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