Monday, February 23, 2009

NY Fragrance Examiner: Oscar Night: 1930s trend and the quest for authenticity

The Oscars: First of all, I haven’t seen any of these films this year, so I can’t comment on them. Also, sadly, I’m only roughly familiar with the actors. However, I thought the Harlem dinner theatre throwback atmosphere was interesting, and the music was a pleasure to hear this year, what with a real jazz band getting so into the playing they occasionally improvised right over the speakers on stage after commercial break. Beyonce was a dynamite entertainer as usual. When I had my Japanese TV gig many years ago, I had a rarely mentioned side gig as a music editor, assisting the director with laying down the perfect background music for scenes. So my interest in movie music is fairly paramount. I’m glad Slumdog got awarded for best soundtrack, but I absolutely love Peter Gabriel’s “Down to Earth” (WALL-E soundtrack), reminiscent of his Ovo (2000) masterpiece. It's such an exquisite, moving song, they should have let him present it in full. I totally understand his reluctance to perform just 65 seconds of it at The Academy Awards. Really, it’s absurd – even the jazz band played more than that. Ask any wedding band how difficult it is to cut off the music when the waiter goes around to ask for entrée choices and the maitre d’ turns to the band in the middle of a sensitive turn of phrase and hisses, “Stop NOW”. Making music isn’t supposed to be so artificial, or like simply laying down background for ready-made visuals. Live music is supposed to be authentic, with room to be creative and in the moment, like making music because it’s a joy to make it, not like you’re providing music for the bride and groom to cut the cake to. Well, maybe if you’re playing a wedding, but not if you’re Peter Gabriel at The Oscars, with a nomination to boot.

Enough of my music-related rant in support of a genuine musician and one of the greatest of all time. Let’s talk fashion. (continued)

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