Friday, September 28, 2007

I've been tagged!

Well, you can move out to the suburbs, but the gangs follow you. Fortunately, the gang members in my neighbor- hood haven't caught on to the whole thug culture thing yet. But, apparently, they are tagging. I was going to water the dead grass in my yard when I noticed this message spray painted on the side of my house. "Hi," yourself. Next time maybe you can meet my friends, Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Spy Show Themes at the Symphony

Hi all,

I know at least one person who says he is still checking this blog to see what I've been up to, and of course there have been no updates in a while. So today I'll write about last night.

Yesterday I was looking for something to do and saw that the Houston Symphony was doing a concert dedicated to James Bond: Relive the music of James Bond through songs like 'Goldfinger', 'You Only Live Twice', and 'Diamonds are Forever'. Your fingers will also click to spy-themed favorites like 'Mission Impossible' and 'Pink Panther'. Spy shows had the best music, so I decided to go. (Although I don't think the Pink Panther is a spy-themed favorite.) I didn't buy a ticket online because sometimes if there are unsold seats you can buy them cheap with a student ID at the box office. When I got to Jones Hall and stood in line, a gentleman came up and asked the lady behind me if she needed a ticket because he had an extra one to give away. She said no, she had extras and she was in line to try to return them. So I spoke up and told him if he was giving away a ticket I'd be glad to take it! He handed it to me and went inside. I looked at the ticket: ORCHESTRA ROW F. This was an $85 ticket that placed me on the ground floor, six rows from the stage. Even better, I was right in the middle behind the conductor! Best seat in the house, free? To quote one of my daughter's TV shows, "Yay me!"

It turns out most of the Bond themes they played were from the John Barry days, which was fine by me. They opened with the main theme, of course: that attention-grabbing staccato introduction followed by the slow and deliberate swirling of the strings. Then "Goldfinger," another favorite, its luster diminished only slightly by the absence of Shirley Bassey's vocals. Then "You Only Live Twice," which was not great only because the accompaniment was too loud. After the theme from On Her Majesty's Secret Service and "Diamonds Are Forever," they played the theme from Batman (the movie, not the TV show!), the "Love Theme from Superman," and the theme from the Spider-Man movies, all of which were excellent. After intermission we heard some Henry Mancini music: Clouseau's theme, the Pink Panther title music, and a medley of Peter Gunn and Mr. Lucky. (How could anyone not love the Peter Gunn theme? The Mancini tunes were a big hit with the audience; I think a Mancini-themed concert would do well.) After a spotlight performance by a new violinist from Bulgaria, it was back to Bond for some music from Casino Royale and the big finish: a medley of themes including "The Spy Who Loved Me," "Live and Let Die," the "Raid on Fort Knox" from Goldfinger, and the title them from Thunderball. The show closed with the theme from Mission Impossible. It was great fun and I'm glad I went.