32,000 troops in New York Harbor

I just e-mailed a history expert in order to find a possible answer to two questions my mom and I had out of watching “Hamilton”.

1) How many men would have been aboard each ship?

2) How long was the journey from England to New York in 1776?

We wanted to know how many ships were in the harbor in order to produce 32,000 troops, as the line in the song says, and realized that we had no idea how big the ships even were and what their capacities were for men (and ammunition, etc.).

And that set of thoughts led us to wondering how long they had had to spend at sea.

And so, rather than put forth lots of effort in researching myself, I figured it smartest to reach out to an expert first, and doing further personal research second, if needed.

Why does this even matter?

Because we are total nerds in my family, and we care about things like this. ๐Ÿ˜›

I mean, what else would one be asking after watching “Hamilton”? Haha

Post-a-day 2020

The story for tonight

Tonight, I keep it extremely short:

Lin-Manuel Miranda, I thank you – you have given the world such wonder and love and beautiful creativity and expression, and we, the people, are grateful. ๐Ÿ˜‰

And for all of it – you are a gift, and you have shared your treasure with the world at large… for that, and for following your passion and love, you have helped to make the world a better place on both a personal and a global level.

Thank you.

Post-a-day 2020

Rapunzel

It turns out that I have done and regularly do just about everything listed in the song “When will my life begin”, from the film Tangled.

Like… seriously…

I mentioned this to a friend this morning (her tonight*), and how I was considering doing a set of photos with the song lyrics as captions to them.

But she was determined that I make an actual video… especially since I live up on top of an old house, creating an extra layer of comparability to Rapunzel and the song.

After much deliberation and some concern on copyright concerns, I have almost determined to make a video that includes clips of me doing all of these different things, and with myself singing the song in the background… no copyright issues on a cover, and more interesting than just photos…

It could be quite fun, I dare say…

Though, I do not have chess, nor do I have darts (though I can play/do both reasonably well)…, so I am considering two different unique tasks to fill their places in the song… unsure yet what, though.

(How many times can one use “though” in a single sentence or idea??? Haha)

Lots up in the air right now, but the idea has definitely been planted well, so there’s a chance!

The hardest part will be to get back to making myself actually get up at 7am, and not just to use the bathroom and then go right back to bed (as I have been doing most days lately)… ๐Ÿ˜›

*If you don’t get it, ask around until you find someone who does. ๐Ÿ˜‰

P.S. May the Fourth be with you ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Take it off

I found out yesterday that The Full Monty is not just a film, but also a stage play and a stage musical.

(!!!)

Did you see that???

The Full Monty

!!!!!!

And I kind of really want to see a production of it now….

No, I have never really been interested in any Chippendales activities (though I did have a blast* with both Magic Mike films, it wasn’t really for the reasons one might expect).

But, I think the fact that this film (and show, I guess – it wouldn’t be that different, right?) is about a group of goofy married (I think most of them are married, anyway) men who decide they can outdo and outshine (or at least end up comparable enough to earn some cash) traditional fit and sexy Chippendales performers… somehow…., and they go through this whole development and growth and transformation of outlook and spirit of life…., and it is just a lovely and totally silly and fun story, following these guys and feeling their emotions with them, and, especially, joining in their delighted terror and triumph as they actually pull themselves together and perform their show… just wow…

So, yeah, I want to be cheering on those guys in life.

I think it would be a really funny and silly and fun and empowering and inspiring show to see… because live is a whole ‘nother experience from a Hollywood film. ๐Ÿ˜€

No editing available on a live stage, so you can feel the extra layer of struggle within the actors, in addition to the struggle within the characters the actors play.

So good…, if it is done well, that is… and I hope it is done well… ๐Ÿ™‚

*The first was amazing, because I went on a new friend date with a guy from my dormitory where I had just moved in Germany… we had agreed we both wanted to go see a film in the theatre to practice our German, and Magic Mike was almost finished showing in theatres in Germany, so I kind of wanted to see what the fuss had been all about back in the US while I suddenly had the chance again… so, I asked him if that film was okay, because it was playing in 45 minutes at the theatre in town… there was a hit of back-and-forth about ‘Why this movie’, and I believe I convinced him with the fact that it was likely to have less difficult dialogue to follow, combined with the fact that it was just plain crazy for us to go see that film in particular… to practice our German…, as two disinterested-in-dating opposite-gendered people… So, that was great – I understood maybe 5-15% of the actual words said, though I still got the gist of the story.

The second time, I was at a girlfriend’s apartment while her best friend was in town to visit… they discovered that I hadn’t seen the second film, and declared that I must see it now…, so we put it on, and they whooped and hollered, and I giggled along with them…, but, what I noticed most, and what delighted me most, was the dancing… I could hardly wait to see the dancing, and just the opening dance scene in the workshop blew my mind happy – the creativity of the dance, as well as all the other dances in that film, due to their creativity and smooth execution, were just mind-blowingly fabulous…. such a great film… and I kind of understood the plot of it, too, like the first film.

Plus, I have always had a crush on Channing Tatum, so it was lovely to see him working through struggles as a smart, extremely capable man in both films…, and it was even cooler that he was a man who had true rhythm and could dance… and then even cooler cooler that it was all based out of his own story of being smart in life… just awesome, man. โค

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Two things about music

The first:

It is funny, the things that get us, that get to us… I have been mostly totally fine with all of the splatters of chaos going on in the world around me these past weeks (the past one especially), and my life has been rather normal-ish… I have been bummed for many a people who have had work closed (and, therefore, no pay) or canceled (performers who, of course, now will not be paid for unperformed shows), but that is it… I have been bummed about it.

Today, as I read the lovely e-mail from Houston Grand Opera, stating clearly and beautifully that they are cancelling their remaining shows, both paid and free to the public, of the season (four altogether, with many performances of each) and that they are still paying 50% to all workers and performers who were hired to work on the shows, and, if we would like, we could โ€˜click hereโ€™ to donate our ticket prices to help them do this (instead of being refunded or having it apply to next season or something), I found myself full on crying… tears overflowing, body shaking slightly, a feeling of failed, helpless distress filling me…

Perhaps it was the first thing that 100% affected me directly, and not merely indirectly…, and perhaps it was that they were doing it all so kindly, handling it so well for the performers and workers they knew would be out of income probably entirely until the public returns to a life that includes theatres and performances and people…, whatever the case, it helped me to experience all the feelings I had been avoiding inside myself about all of this… I am terrified for my friends, these people I love, who work in these industries that have closed, and I am distraught for my performer friends, the people who light up my life for me with their every moment of work – their entire job serves the higher good in my life, lifts my spirits, heals my soul… how can I tell them that everything will be okay, when it very possibly will be quite terrible for them for a while?

I cannot…, but I can love them and value them nonetheless for all that they do, for all that they are, both in the world as a whole and in my life specifically…

I donโ€™t know how I would be in life without them and all that they do and are committed to doing…, perhaps that is why it is so hard for me to know and accept the current absolute halt of their work… they mean more to me and my life than they ever could know or understand.

And I believe they might be feeling entirely useless and stupid and helpless right now…, I want the to know that they are not – they are as amazing as ever, and will be even more so amazing when we move forward through all of this, and they stick to doing what they do so spectacularly, both for themselves and for the world around them.

::big siiiigggghhhhh…

Second thing:

I discovered today that one of my absolute favorite places to sing is in a parking garage… I have turned unconsciously to singing this past week, and unabashedly so.

Walking through the parking garage today, I couldnโ€™t help but marvel at how spectacular my voice sounded, reverberating so majestically around the concrete and air that surrounded me… it was beautiful.

And I am not exactly a fancy or trained singer or anything – very much an average, so far as people who understand and play at least some music go.

It was just so amazing a space for singing, it made my own singing sound worthy of being on a soundtrack…

Crazy, right?

Anyway, I look forward to gathering with friends for music dates in the future, in which we feel not so unlike drug dealers, when we meet up in various parking garages at all hours, like it is totally normal. ๐Ÿ˜›

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Road Trip Prep

A miniature shout-out to Amazon Music, the App – I just prepared a BA (aka totally nerdy and perfect) playlist for our miniature road trip tomorrow morning.

My mom and I will be able to listen to the glorious soundtracks to various Broadway productions that we love and others that we expect to love in the near future…. and it will cost me no data whatsoever – I downloaded them over wifi just now, for free, and I will play them off my phone in the car tomorrow while we drive.

Some are new, some are older-ish-new, and some are throwbacks to my childhood… whatever the case, I suspect and expect we will have a grand ole time singing along to most of them. ๐Ÿ™‚

Post-a-day 2019

Cultural Villainy

This afternoon/evening, I found myself discussing various voice and talking style stereotypes in American English and in Japanese (from Japan, of course*).

It all started with seeing the film “Aladdin” in the cinema this afternoon, and then, over ice cream afterward, we veered onto Disney music and its composers a lyricists (and how amazing some of the greats are[!!!]).

Then we branched into the Japanese versions of this music, as the friend with me is Japanese, and she grew up only hearing the Japanese language versions of the songs.

We discussed differences I had found in the music, and why I thought each one was so… now that she has been living in the US for about a year, she saw exactly what I meant and genuinely understood.

“Colors of the Wind” sounds somewhat stressed and so compounded and busy in Japanese, yet the English sounds so open and contemplative, filled with deep breaths and space through the notes and the words… there are just too many syllables in the Japanese, and too many consonants in between all the vowels…

An American likely would be appalled at hearing the Japanese version of Scar’s voice, because the voice doesn’t match the type of villain that he is… it is not entitled and brooding and, almost like serial killer style, the voice of someone who is biding his time until his plot can unfurl perfectly to his advantage – until, at last, he is granted his dues, as Scar says.

To American ears, the Japanese Scar in pathetic and angry and holds no weight behind his short-man angry yelling of a voice, desperately hoping someone will listen to him and do what he wants others to do.

And yet, to Japanese ears, the Japanese Scar is exactly right: He is the stereotypical ‘bad guy’ voice and has that same ‘bad guy’ and ‘villain’ manner of speaking… the English version would sound just ‘American’, and have nothing special tied to it for Japanese ears.

And my friend was able to see and hear just these things, and mainly because she has become accustomed to hearing so many different ways of speaking that people have here in English (unlike Japanese English in Japan, which is pretty much always the same).

And, somehow, I found the whole situation to be fascinating and utterly fulfilling… I had never really thought quite so much and quite so pointedly about the translations and the voices of actors until today, though it certainly was not my first or, even, tenth time considering it all.

It had me feel an almost silly passion for Disney and, in particular, “The Lion King”, and yet I couldn’t find a reason not to care so much about it all – I love languages and music and seeing things in new ways, and these Disney movies had huge impacts on my childhood and, therefore, my life as a whole… they are a part of me… and I care about and love myself.

So, I guess I get to love those Disney films, too, silly little perfect details and all. ๐Ÿ™‚

By the way, I went into “Aladdin” with an attitude of its being a different film and perspective of the same story as the animated version…, and I thoroughly enjoyed the film – it was wonderful(!).

And it was filmed in Jordan(!)… how cool is that?!

I don’t often go to cinemas these days (in the US, anyway), but I am glad I went today – it was a lovely experience. ๐Ÿ™‚

*Does Japanese have a culture of native speakers anywhere else in the world?

Post-a-day 2019

For Tonight

I love theatre, especially the musical kind.

Tonight, after much work on the part of many people, we finally got to sit down and watch an official, real, full performance of the world premier of the musical “For Tonight“.

Throughout its preparation and rehearsal time, I had learned all about the story of the show, and didn’t think anything super special about it…

Upon my actually sitting in one of the final run-throughs to do notes, I heard, for the first time, the music, the songs…

And I spent a good portion of the show, to varying degrees, in tears – it was that wonderful and beautiful.

Tonight, after seeing the whole show, with everything mostly polished and actually in order, I fell even more in love with this show and its music.

Let’s be real here: I want a CD right now, so I can listen to those voices singing those songs over and over (and over) again, until the words ride within me on their own… at the moment, I can feel the music inside me, swirling around, whooshing to the various rhythms and beats…, I just don’t have all the words in there, nor any sort of organization going from one song to another…

After tonight, I have my mental fingers crossed like crazy to have an album recorded, which would be totally awesome, using this cast of voices – I love these voices, both individually and as a whole cast.

Yumm… that’s how wonderful the Romani and all the others sound – you just want to eat them up, but savor them, too, like your favorite food/dessert.

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Friends in action

There is a bit of a tizzy going on amongst those sitting in the directorโ€™s circle, just after my friend begins her solo song. I hear something like an โ€˜I donโ€™t Know,โ€™ from the circle as Blue Sweater turns ’round, shaking his head intensely with an air of sighing disbelief.

“Are you talking about the rag that was left behind?” I ask, since she had just had to step over a dropped white rag from the previous scene.

“What?”

I repeat.

“No. HER,” he says, somewhat dramatically, tipping his head toward the girl on stage, toward my friend. “Sheโ€™s …perfection. Sheโ€™s… sheโ€™s just perfection,” he says, hands flying with something like exasperation.

โ€˜Oh.โ€™ I agree… a few moments of silent awe follow, as everyone watches her on stage.

Shaking his head, โ€œI mean, she has to know how perfect she is… she Has to know – I Have to give her the note,” and he flips open and begins writing in a notebook.

Everyone watching the stage is smiling, and they are smiles from deep within.

๐Ÿ™‚

Post-a-day 2019

Bedtime routine…

I wanted to go read, because I didn’t want to think about what to write…,

But then I thought about how I would be thinking all along in the back of my mind about things I could use for writing, as well as maintaining that semi-constant reminder that also resides back there to make sure I write before I go to bed…

And so I came and sat down on my magical handmade chair… thing – I think it’s possibly a stool, technically, and “magical” just felt right, because it is special to me, not because it is a regular Hermione Granger or anything of the sort – and picked up the little phone – “little” being totally relative, because it is definitely not Zoolander sized, but it also is loads smaller than the first many versions of phones, as well as the most recent iPad-type mobile phones – here to write something…

Apparently this is what I ended up writing for tonight – and “For Tonight” is the name of a musical that is about to have its world premier here in Houston(!)… ๐Ÿ˜›

Post-a-day 2019