Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Spam, spam, beautiful spam.

I always enjoy looking at my browser's spam folder before I delete it. On rare occasion, there's something that's actually supposed to have come to me. But there's always the unintentionally hilarious email that's intended to grab my attention.

The one I've been getting lately - about every third day for the past month - has a subject line of "what a stupid face you have here johnstoner."

Well, that surely gets my attention. Not entirely sure what it's selling, unless there's some sort of new profile enhancement scam of which I am unaware. And not sure it's doing a really good job of making me want to open the email to find out.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fellowship of the Ring, the concert

I went out to Wolf Trap a couple of weeks ago, to see The Fellowship of the Ring. Yes, an outdoor showing of the movie, digitally projected in HD-quality. But this was a special print – it didn’t have the score. Sure, it had the dialogue and any sound effects. But the score itself was performed by an orchestra. And a 200-person choir, and soloists.

They billed it as the “world premiere” of a live performance of the score done to the movie. (The score has been separately performed as a concert, but never with the movie.)

I’ve been to three or four other orchestral performances of scores at movies, notably the Abel Gance 1927 silent film masterpiece Napoleon, but this was the first time I’ve been to a live performance of a score to a sound movie.

Absolutely amazing. Really shows how much a score adds to a movie, and having it live made it almost 3-D in character. The orchestra had some extra instruments, called for by the score: Japanese and African war drums, anvils, metal plates suspended by wire. And the soloists were superb.

I could not identify any instances where the score was off from where it was supposed to be, or any errors. There were certainly times where the volume was louder or softer compared to the dialog than it had been in the movie, but hey! It’s a live performance!

Really a lot of fun. Only drawbacks were that (a) they had to wait until dark to start the movie (hello! It’s a movie), so it started at 8:30 and, with an intermission, ended after midnight, kind of late for a school night, and (b) it was mighty cold. Probably 50 degrees when the movie started, and certainly less than that when it ended, and it felt chillier when the wind blew through the house. As I hadn’t really thought about the weather when I started out from Richmond, where it had been in the high 70’s in the afternoon, I was really happy that I had not cleaned my car out for the trip, so I still had a sweatshirt in the trunk and a down jacket in the back seat. I put them to good use at the movie. (And, of course, if they had waited until later in the year for the performance, when it would have been warmer, they’d have also had to wait until even later in the evening for it to get dark. Late May and done shortly after midnight is much better than mid-July and ending after 1 a.m.)