The Old Gray Geek

Category: Other Cool Stuff

Music and Musicals

Among other social sins, in high school I was a bandie.  In both marching band and concert band, I played the tuba.  I'd played both trumpet and baritone during junior high, and returned to the trumpet to play in the jazz band at college.  Over twenty five years later, I started playing in a community band, and after a couple of years I changed instruments again, taking up the French horn.  I still play now, in a local college's joint student/community band.

In addition, I as in two musicals in high school, and to this day I enjoy musical theater.  This past week, I saw a post on Facebook, a defense of the bootleg video recordings that pop up on the Internet of popular Broadway shows.  I have mixed feelings about this.

On the one hand, I know I am likely to never, ever see a show on Broadway.  I live 5 hours from New York City (not far when you consider that people travel from all over the country to see these shows) and I don't like big cities very much.  I have traveled to Toronto once for a stage show, over 20 years ago, but I'm not likely to do so again.  And to be honest, the high ticket prices do put me off.  It would be nice to see these shows as they are intended to be seen - with the full staging.  The traveling shows are limited in their staging because they have to be repeatedly set up and broken down.  

On the other hand, I recognize that the writers, composers, producers, performers, musicians, stagehands and countless others whose work goes into staging these shows deserve to make a living.  A good living, to be honest, because these are all people who have invested great amounts of time and effort to get where they are in a very competitive business.  Bootleg videos amount to giving their work away for free, without their consent.  

Is there a compromise?  I thought so.  Some years back, officially licensed videos of some stage shows were released.  The first ones that came out of some of Andrew Lloyd Weber's shows, such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Cats and Jesus Christ Superstar were great, because they were recordings of the stage show, with minimal modification to the staging.  They only changed it enough to accommodate getting cameras in to film from different angles.  Then came Evita and Phantom of the Opera - full blown movie musicals based on the plays.  Not that I object to such movies, that's where I had my original exposure to "classic" musicals such as My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The Music Man.  But I'd really like to see the stage versions, too.

Is it too much to hope someone might try recording and releasing (for sale) more musicals in the future?

April 8, 2017     0 Comments   ,

A new Golden Age comic (sort of)

He is considered the first and the greatest among the costumed superhero set. And yet, despite being in print for 78 years, a gifted writer and/or artist can still come up with a new angle.

In this case, it's a look at Superman before he was Superman, and the hidden story behind his costume and the concept of a secret identity.  It's a fan comic by a storyboard artist, and it's a great glimpse into the untold history of Superman.

March 9, 2017     0 Comments

So, What’s It All About?

Wow, another geek culture blog. Ho, hum. That's what, number twelve thousand?

Okay, maybe it's not quite that bad, but yes, there are a lot of them out here on the Internet. And that's a good thing. Thirty years ago, if you were a nerd or a geek, you had to hunt high and low to find your fellows. If you were a college student and very lucky, you had a gaming club on campus. I was an early (can't quite claim founding) member of the Rochester Wargamer's Association and Guild (RWAG) at Rochester Institute of Technology, back in 1984-85. I'm happy to see that they are still around three decades later. The same was true for comic book fans, science fiction/fantasy enthusiasts, and re-enactors. There have been groups around for these interests, but they were hard to find and, let's face it, most people thought we were a bit odd.

Now, things are different. We're everywhere. And why not? After all, some would say it was the geeks who brought us the World Wide Web and social media. Geek has gone mainstream, and you can see its effects everywhere from television and movies, to the clothing on the racks at the stores, from the explosion of cons to the naming of babies. Geek culture is going strong and apparently here to stay.

So, why another geek blog? Because everyone gets their geek on in a different way. My interests aren't necessarily the same as the geek next door. But there will be some commonality. My main interests are comic books (particularly DC comics, mostly up through the mid 1980's), role-playing games in the tradition of Dungeons and Dragons, medieval re-enactment, and science fiction/fantasy novels. Not to say I won’t talk about other topics, but those are my core interests. And like my medieval persona, I’m a bit of an anachronism. My interests lie in my youth: old comics, old-school gaming, and the classic stories. And that’s what I want to talk about here. More to the point, that’s what I want others to talk about here. I want this blog to be an open community for geeks to talk about their interests. I’ll be posting links to other blogs and articles that interest me, as well as pontificating on my interests. I hope you’ll join in.

January 17, 2017     0 Comments

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