Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Saturday, April 03, 2004


My beloved spouse and I rented a terrific movie (on video cassette) last night, “The World of Henry Orient” from 1964. Very sweet and funny story of two junior-high-age girls running around New York City, obsessing over a crush on a womanizing concert pianist played by Peter Sellers. And when I say “running,” I mean it literally -- lots of shots of them RUNNING around New York. Very endearing.

A great movie for music. By Elmer Bernstein. The girls’ themes are jaunty and innocent in what sounds like a shifting 5/4 meter; humming it now, the next day, I can’t recreate it confidently.

Contrasted with the pianist’s themes -- HEAVY ROMANTIC, pastiche-Rachmaninoff maybe, for Henry Orient’s passionate seductions of married women.

Plus, an avant-garde orchestral concert, featuring Henry Orient’s late-romantic piano solo accompanied by a heavy-dissonant 20th century avant-garde orchestra. Pastiche, meant to be satirical, and musically really interesting and engaging. The dissonant chords are really really thick; the pastiche-romanticism of the piano is entertaining.

In the last scene, when the 2 teen-agers have graduated from crushes on glamorously unobtainable adults to crushes on boys their own age, the music turns to early-’60s pastiche rock, very effectively.

Stylistically interesting acting too. All the characters are played straight and poignantly, except Henry Orient, his first paramour, and a couple minor characters, who are played for farce. Peter Sellers is funny in the role. And the main story, of the girls’ friendship and their complicated, painful relationships with their parents, is really touching. Very few movies of teen-age girl friendships. This one is sweet.


“Rolling Stone” magazine has a new list out. The 50 Greatest [rock-related] Artists of All Time, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Rock. (Dated from Elvis’s first Sun sessions, I’m assuming, not having read the intro.)

Lists are fun and annoying and always embarrassing, “Rolling Stone”’s lists moreso than most. Their 100 Greatest Guitarists -- nothing against any of the people on the list. But. Where’s Sister Rosetta Tharpe? Where’s Django Reinhardt? Where’s Lonnie Johnson? It is to shake one’s head in disbelief. I mean, if you go for these things.

And!! Manitas de Plata? Where’s he? Baden Powell?

And so on.

Picking up the magazine today, the only article I wanted to read was the one defending John Lennon’s inclusion as a solo artist. (Beatles were Number One.) They justified it on one great album (“Plastic Ono Band”) and a handful of songs, including David Bowie’s “Fame,” which Lennon co-wrote and sang on. OK, that works for me. One great album, and a handful of great songs. Worthy of The List? Acchhh -- sure, why not. That is, you know, I mean, ah yes but you’re all wrong. That is, I think I disagree.

“Rolling Stone” lists. Forgive me.

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