//I had a natural feeling for the ancient ballads and country blues, but everything else I had to learn from scratch. I was playing for small crowds, sometimes no more than four or five people in a room or on a street corner. You had to have a wide repertoire, and you had to know what to play and when. Some songs were intimate, some you had to shout to be heard.
By listening to all the early folk artists and singing the songs yourself, you pick up the vernacular. You internalize it. You sing it in the ragtime blues, work songs, Georgia sea shanties, Appalachian ballads and cowboy songs. You hear all the finer points, and you learn the details.//
In our post-truth world, I am so disappointed with Billboard for posting Censored/Edited out of sequence version of Madonna Woman of The Year Speech. For the record, someone shared this Uncensored Madonna Woman of The Year Speech (16:28 vs Billboard’s 10:29) Here are some texttranscript but neither are full transcripts as they haven’t included some part of her speech.
NOTE: I thought Billboard behaved badly and left this comment.
@Billboard While I appreciate the chance to watch this partial speech video, I am very disappointed re your misleading (frankly, I was going to say deceitful) claim this is a Full Speech. You should really have more respect for your own Billboard Woman of The Year! Or you don’t really give a flying beep because Madonna is a Woman (and not a MAN) after all.
The site Digital Music News has an article entitled, “I’m Madonna. And This Is the Blatant Sexism, Misogyny, and Constant Bullying That I’ve Faced…” which others have claimed is a full transcript of Madonna’s speech. I have no way to tell thanks to you!!! (update: After watching Lola’s version, the transcripts miss things too so they are not full transcript.)
@Billboard Has our post-truth world arrived early before January 20, 2017 and facts and truth really don’t matter to you anymore?!
P.S. Other commentator has written “beggars can’t be choosers” in thanking you for the video. Sure, having something to watch is great but I am not willing to give up “facts” for that yet?! I would rather watch a cell phone video of Madonna’s FULL & Unedited speech than your mangled version (which I suspect, given others’ transcript, you might have edited things out of sequence)! What the beep is wrong with you @Billboard?! Please don’t suck!
National Music Centre – Studio Bell – 2016 Canada Day Grand Opening
National Music Centre – Studio Bell – 2016 Canada Day Grand Opening
We did something special on 2016 Canada Day in Calgary by attending the grand opening of the National Music Centre (NMC) Studio Bell (Twitter)! Yes, the lineup was long and around the block (~1.5 hours) even at 10am in the morning but it totally worth our time in the wait because of the special guest pxerformances we got to watch (more on this later). Regular admission fees are $18 for adult, $14 for Seniors/Students, $11 for Youth (3-12), free for Children (under 3) and free on this grand opening day. And there is cool as there is a FREE/complimentary admission for “new Canadian citizens within their first year of citizenship. New citizens can apply for the CAP online at www.icc-icc.ca and present their pass upon arrival at Studio Bell for free entry.”
By random chance, I came across Jazz singer 胡琳 Bianca Wu (Facebook) in some RTHK promo clips of a program about her. I ended up watching the RTHK 12音樂門‧逃 – 爵士貓 · 胡琳 (full 50+ minutes) last night and really enjoyed it.
The little boy and young Cosette absolutely stole my heart! Awesome job by Daniel Huttlestone as Gavroche and Isabelle Allen as young Cosette. I totally expected the scenes with Isabelle’s Cosette to be great (a great young Cosette is key to LesMis), but Daniel’s Gavroche was a total breath of unexpected fresh air. What a lively performance. I do feel the scene of Gavroche‘s death could have been tweaked a little differently to make it even better.
Anne Hathaway gave a wonderful performance as Fantine! I initially wrote (film unseen) and believed Anne would “create a transcending experience that we have NEVER experience in a LIVE singing musical film EVER.” After watching the film twice, I concluded that what made the film magical is the combined power of songs and images! Once I logically think that, I kinda forced myself to conclude all the songs (i.e. audio alone) in the LesMis 2012 can/will not replace the versions of the same stage versions I learned to love and treasure over the years. For me, I appreciate the wide vocal range and full volume of stage recorded musical versions which bring things up a notch, instead of to the near death tragic level matching the image we see on screen. Have a listen to “Lea Salonga – I Dreamed A Dream at the 25th Anniversary Concert” which I can listen to over and over again. I know Anne‘s rendition of I Dreamed A Dream made many people cry but I had expected so much much more from it and at the end it truly made me sad that I can’t honest say I love/like it. I wonder was it the camera movement, or the editing, or the really weak dying singing voice (in accordance to the style of the film)? I don’t know.
Hugh Jackman gave an awesome performance. I now confirm my belief that without Hugh, there is no LIVE singing LesMis! No disrespect to Hugh, I truly doubt the film’s renditions will have much lasting impact in replacing any other classics stage versions. By the way, you should know that “Colm Wilkinson, the original Jean Valjean in the Broadway and West End musical productions, makes a cameo appearance as the Bishop of Digne“! My ears were in heaven when I realized who Colm was and he was singing with Hugh!
I questioned openly if Russell Crowe can sing? Yes, Russell tried his best and he was great in ensemble scenes. And when the camera is closeup on Russell, his acting helped out his singing by quite a bit. Unfortunately, there were solo scenes that did not sound good enough, including the disappointing concluding classic number Javert’s Suicide. Given Russell is not a professional singer, I think he did the best he could.
Samantha Barks rocks! You probably know Samantha actually “starred asÉponinein the London production of Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre” for a year from 2010-2011. So no wonder her “On My Own” is so well sung.Have a watch of her spectacular “On My Own” at the 25th anniversary performance of Les Miserables. I hope she will get nominated for an Oscar best supporting actress so we can see more of her.
I’ve seen two screenings, people clapped at the end of both screenings. A friend told me clapping also happened at her screening in Vancouver.
Finally, LesMis 2012 changed the game of musical on film, I am not sure I can or will accept going by to watch lip-synced musical film. At the same time, live stage musical sang in a stage manner (over-exaggerated a bit, a la “Lea Salonga – I Dreamed A Dream“) will still be appreciated by musical lovers.
Bonus update Dec 27th:Adding the following after interesting discussions with commenters over here.
From Deborah: “I kind of feel that the expectations you mentioned having about Anne’s singing may have set up the disappointment. I, went in with little to no expectation of her singing, and felt it wrenched much more from me than Lea’s rendition. […] I am curious about how you would like to have tweaked Gavroche’s death. I felt something missing but as the film is still so fresh in my head, I do not know how I would like to fill that which is missing…”
My reply to Deborah: “Yes, you are right on. I, unfortunately, failed to keep my expectation in check and let it run wild. But then I truly believe what I wrote was possible. The problem is I was critical of Lea’s rendition before I watch Les Mis 2012 too! I even argue with my professionally trained singer/advisor (she sang soprano) saying Lea’s 25th anniversary rendition had some of the words sang way too clearly and enunciated way too prominently. Thus expecting Anne’s (actually, in general, a LIVE singing acting way) will be “better” and involve me emotionally even more! Well, I doubt my expectations could have been reachable by anyone. But if I were Tom Hopper, I would push and push more to try.
re Gavroche’s death: I think it is the script I have problem with. The death scene made me felt like Gavroche was taunting the soliders. It dragged on a few more movement than I want? May be kill him in with the second shot? I don’t know. I have to watch it again to say for sure. And the steadicam final look into his face seem odd. May be that is the position of his body or the look on his face?”
Deborah: “Oh – and I fell in love with the voices and the actresses portrayals of Cosette…”
My reply: “Which Cosette? :)
Isabelle Allen as young Cosette had to rock and she definitely did when she started singing in her scene!
Amanda Seyfried as Cosette is flawless too! She has to have the look of innocent and the voice of an angel to match. And she did. I like her when I first noticed Amanda Seyfried in Mean Girls. In fact, everyone did a good job in Mean Girls especially Lindsay Lohan. Lindsay is such a talented actress and I hope she can get back on track in her career. I felt she is one of the child actress that we (the viewing public) help wreck her life, of course, her own actions are to blame too, but then without the success provided by us public, she may live a different life.”
What does LIVE Singing really mean? The actors & actresses you see on screen, their images and singing would have been recorded LIVE together. So no faking or lip syncing at all! The Live Singing is going to be awesome!
Now, the Les Mis promotional machine would want you to believe the film’s LIVE Singing is “ground breaking” and “never been done before” without qualification. The fact is filmmakers in the past have done it. Here is Candice Bergensinging in a comedic scene with Burt Reynolds in Starting Over. Don’t tell me Candice actually recorded this in studio first and then managed to lip sync to the bad comedic singing! :)
I guess I will be happier if the promotional hype is toned down a little.
Sure, the sound quality in the clip and setup was no where near great but it strangely eased my worry a bit more. Not completely, but a little more. I see/hear something in the pub performance, and I trust Russell to be a perfectionist that he would have practiced a ton and done takes and takes and takes … until he and director Tom Hooper think he got things right. Following the “trust, but verify” advice: I trust Russell can deliver but I am eagerly waiting to watch the film to tell decide for myself!
If there is an absolute “sure win” performance in Les Mis, it the awesome Tony-award-winning Broadway star Hugh (also known for being Wolverine) ! His singing of “Who Am I” is wonderful and interesting. I will have a “risky” technical discussion later.
Anne‘s increasingly skillful acting, her 25 lb weight loss (absolutely crazy in creating the desired look), and her singing combine together will, I believe, create a transcending experience that we have NEVER experience in a LIVE singing musical film EVER.
I have to admit I used to quite like Les Misérables (1998 film) starring Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush, Uma Thurman, and Claire Danes. But when I recently borrowed the 1998 film from the library to watch again for my LesMis series research, I was only able to watch a few segments. I could not bare to watch it from beginning to end. As a drama with no singing, I found the film dry and a bit too much “Reason Before Passion“. LesMis needs the LIVE singing like we need oxygen, a LIVE singing film version of LesMis can, I hope, achieve “Reason alongside Passion“!
In case you don’t know already, Samantha actually “starred asÉponine in the London production of Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre” for a year from 2010-2011. Have a watch of her spectacular “On My Own” at the 25th anniversary performance of Les Miserables. Based on the trailers and the behind the scenes clips, I totally think Samantha will shine like a bright star in LesMis (2012)!
It should be a ton of fun to watch Helena and Sacha (you may know him as the awesome Borat). Because of the types of songs the two roles will perform, I suspect the two talents can easily handle the singing. I was able to find Sacha singing in Sweeney Todd. Have a watch.
“He’s not what I expected. I didn’t look at those characters and think, This will be the sweetest guy in the world. He’s incredibly nice. A real gentleman, kind of elegant. I was impressed with him. He’s kind of today’s equivalent of Peter Sellers.”
8) A risky technical discussion re singing
I am not a musician nor trained in music in anyway. So to do the research for this article, I asked my music advisor (a trained soprano) for help. She made the point that words have to be articulated and sung loud and clear. Now, I love Samantha‘s “On My Own” at the 25th anniversary performance, but that is not good enough for my “ideal” LesMis (2012) performance. Why? Here comes my risky take. I think Samantha sang “On My Own” in a much too articulated and loud/clear manner! My preferred performance is one that somewhat goes against the years of training professional singers have learned by heart. With sensitive mic near by shooting the scene and the singing, the performer can be free to let the sung words play a subservient role to the core emotion need to be expressed at that moment. Think about what I just wrote and watch “On My Own” again. Am I way off base?
Under the above stated thinking, I personally think Hugh‘s “Who Am I” rocks! I think it may have a chance to become a more enduring performance than the many other “Who Am I” that we’ve heard before.
9) Concluding Thoughts
I think LesMis (2012) should do very well with lovers of LesMis the musical and lovers of musicals in general. But for the film to be a success in the box office for the studios to try something like this again with other musicals (which I hope they do), LesMis will have to be successful with the general audiences.
If I have time and there are enough interest, I may write an article about the business of LesMis (2012). Until then, it is One Day More! Tomorrow is LesMis on Christmas!
It all started with me trying to find a video clip from Howl’s Moving Castle to go with a cryptic FB Status, “Hello ATCO, Our fire demon is sick and waiting for your help.” It is not in my nature to let a good idea go wasted, so I did some research & search and found the wonderfully made HMC | Call Me, Maybe? ♡
Spoiler Warning: Do not watch clip if you want to watch the full film spoiler-free. Howl’s Moving Castle is a 2004 Japanese animated fantasy film. At heart, it is a most enchanted magical story about love.
Few hours ago YouTube released Rewind YouTube Style 2012 featuring remixes of two of the most popular and frequently remixed songs on YouTube this year. Yes, they are of course Gangnam Style (973+ million views) & Call Me Maybe (361+ million views). I’ve no doubt that Rewind will gain millions of views thanks to being featured on the YouTube icon alone plus it has PSY and a long long long list of stars featured in Rewind. (see below)
Love is a mysterious thing. During the 1989 Christmas holiday, a visiting friend and I walked pass the Royal Alex by chance. We, on a whim, decided to buy the cheapest last minute tickets available to see Les Misérables. Cheap seats were cheap for a reason and we ended up sitting in the absolute worst seat (yes, last row against the wall) in the theatre. To my surprise, even sitting in the worst seats, we quite enjoyed Les Mis. So much so that I bought a copy of the full-Toronto-cast-signed charity Les Mis poster (donating the minimum ~$35, close to or more than the ticket price). I treasured that signed poster for many years until a national mover lost it! Yes, it kinda suck for me!
I remember watching Les Mis (1998 film) in the theatre when it was released and quite enjoyed it. To be honest, knowing the Les Mis (2012 film) is live sung by the cast, the dramatic 1998 film suddenly seem lacking in emotional impact (to me) when compare to what I hope to see from 2012 film. I ended up enjoying the music CDs a lot more than the 1998 film.
Watching Les Mis (25th Anniversary Concert in 2010) for the first time also was quite nice in terms of sound quality and the bonus material of the original cast singing at the end of the DVD. My one complain is the fact that the 25th anniversary performance was a concert so see the cast dressed in costume and sang standing in front of a mic reduced the emotional impact greatly for me.
Listening to all the CDs and watching the 25th Anniversary Concert has put in such a mood that I bought a ticket to the Christmas Opening show last night, for me, an unheard of 12 days ahead of the opening!
Amy’s father Mitch Winehouse said, “And as to you people in the street, I can’t tell you what this means to us. It really is making this a lot easier. We’re devastated and I am speechless. Amy was about one thing and that was love. He whole life was devoted to her family and friends and to you guys as well“
“When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call. There will be a phone call. The sincere hope is that the call will be from the addict themselves, telling you they’ve had enough, that they’re ready to stop, ready to try something new. Of course though, you fear the other call, the sad nocturnal chime from a friend or relative telling you it’s too late, she’s gone.
If you spend some time with Scott MacIsaac, the first thing you will notice is that he is an easy going & sweet young man. And if you are lucky to hear him play the piano in a concert, you will discover he is a talented classical pianist and has alsowonmanyawards.
When I first heard Scott performing in 2009 at 16, I knew that Scott was talented but I only knew him as a person through the eyes of his grandpa Lee Yee 李怡, a famous Hong Kong writer/editorialist. In order to write about Scott in an informed manner, I spent an afternoon plus an evening chatting with Scott and his parents Doug, Wendy and grandpa Lee Yee. And conducted two extensive over the phone followup interviews with Scott and Lee Yee. I appreciate their time very much especially since Scott is leaving Calgary soon (in August 2011) to enter Yale‘s Certificate in Performance program to study piano with Professor Boris Berman.
After some careful considerations, I decided the best way for me to share my insights about Scott is to divide this article into three sections: 1) Impressions, 2) Two Q&As, and 3) YouTube videos (my “Portrait of a Young Classical Pianist” short video, Scott’s TSO Competition videos, and his Calgary performance) allowing you chances to see Scott plays the piano and to listen to him and his parents in their own words.
I am not a piano/classical music expert, but judging from the multiple awards Scott has received over the years, I can safely and objectively say he is very talented! :) And the two performances of Scott I attended in the last few years, I thought the music were played beautifully and many pieces were performed full of passion. In chatting about piano music with Scott, I often saw his eyes lit up and his face filled with a big smile. And in our chats, he, even at his young age, recognizes a perfect performance doesn’t really exist and there are always things to improve in every performance.
When I raised the observation/fact that the career of a concert pianist can be tough and classical piano music isn’t exactly rising in popularity, I sensed he truly sees piano as his calling and willing to work very hard to overcome the challenges faced by concert pianists everywhere. And he even aspires to try to reengage the younger/newer generations to love classical piano music more. Scott clearly knows this is not an easy task so I really admire him for wanting to try. Read the rest of this entry »
First of all, I’ve been a long time admirer and reader of Kevin Roberts‘ ideas in advertising, branding, and marketing, all in all, safe to say I’m a big fan of Kevin. Recently, I found it very cool that Kevin’s idea of Lovemark has gained acceptance in business schools that even my neighbour’s university marketing class is teaching the concept of Lovemark! It puts a big smile on my face to think that I was responsible in creating the first Wikipedia entry for Lovemarkwhen Kevin’s book first came out in 2006 (yes, time flies and that was 5 years ago)!
Back to the reason for writing this article. I want to bring up the important question of “What happen to a Lovemark when the love was lost?”
Part of me understand why Kevin hasn’t talked much about love lost in the two Lovemark books or in his writing. After all, it is more engaging & positive to focus on the good and inspiring. Also, it is probably bad business to talk about “love lost” when trying to sell to clients.
So I guess it is up to independent “practitioners” of Lovemarks, like myself, to try to point out that it can’t be all love all the time! As with any “meaningful love“, there has to be risk of love lost, or cases where love was actually lost. I think it is important for each of us, if not collectively, to keep a list of Lovemarks that are no longer loved.
By the way, here are YouTube videos of Scott MacIsaac at Toronto Symphony Orchestra Competition: Final Round (May 29th, 2011) performing Sergie Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto no. 2 in c minor op. 18. Scott won second prize at the TSO competition. Enjoy.