Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bollywood and the Beatles

There have been some interesting things going on out here in sunny LA in terms of music but I may wait to write about em-just to make sure things come about like I think they might. Until I write about those I'll tell you about my two nights in Hollywood. My friend Farrah invited me to a Bollywood/Indian festival in Hollywood where they would be showing the highest budgeted Bollywood movie ever. So Bollywood is pretty much a Hindi film...combining the name Hollywood and Bombay...(which is odd-isn't it Mumbai now? It should be called Mollywood)....anyway- according to Farrah these films are usually much longer than Hollywood movies and has a lot of dancing and singing in it...sometimes very randomly. Outside the theater were small carts and trucks serving Indian food...i had a lamb frankie, which to my knowledge was some sort of a curry and lamb burrito looking thing. There were also two fellas Dj-ing and rapping over tabla type grooves which made for an interesting sound scape as our group made our way into the theater to grab a drink and our seats before the viewing of “Robot!”. At this point I would like to describe the plot but there were so many strange things about it! I guess a scientist creates a robot and can program him to do whatever he wants and learn things beyond what a human could do...and the scientist has a girlfriend, the robot learns human emotions and falls in love with the girl, and there is an evil bad guy that wants the robot for destruction and yada yada yada its the craziest thing I've ever seen! So in the midst of this partially comical terminator-ish plot there are in fact a lot of very random song and dance scenes...like a bizarre music video in the middle of a scene. And the music videos aren't always in the same spot as the original scene from which they decided to start singing and dancing. At one point, after the two main characters reunite after having a long fight there is a song and dance scene in Machu Picchu...with no reference at all of Peru or south America at all...i figure they had such a big budget that they all agreed they should just go travel to a ridiculously random spot on the other side of the world. I can't really blame em though...if someone gave me a bunch of money to go sing and dance somewhere, Machu Picchu would be at the top of my list. And after the song they were magically whisked back to India. Its hard to describe the 4 hour movie but it was definitely a unique viewing experience!
So, I had also been invited to a Beatles tribute band called Rain a few nights later by my friend Svetlanna. It was kindof a last minute decision to go but I am very glad I went! Quite a few years ago my Dad took me to see a Beatles tribute band called 1964 on my birthday in Norman, Oklahoma. They were really good but I remember thinking I wish they had done stuff from their later years. 1964 was pretty much a show of the Ed Sullivan Beatles...and I understand now that performing songs from their later years would be difficult to actually perform live. That's what made Sgt. Peppers and a lot of the other great Beatles albums really unique was they were not written to be played live rather just a piece of work done in the studio...which I think really revolutionized how you could make music etc...(the Beatles are awsome!!!!!) so the show starts with an announcer saying there are no pre-recorded parts...everything is done live. Then a tv screen shows different clips of the music and news reels of that time...Rock around the Clock, JFK being sworn in, Little Richard etc...then news clips of Beatlemania and them landing in America...then the actual reel of Ed Sullivan introducing them-and it starts with the stage set up exactly how the Ed Sullivan theater was set up. It even had the applause sign flashing when they ended a song. The screens on either side of the stage showed the footage of the girls screaming and going nuts which was pretty funny. After a set of the old Beatles songs the curtains came down and they showed an actual full set of commercials from the 60's including Barney and Fred Flintstone taking a Winston smoke break, and two women discussing how to keep their pantyhose from stretching. Then we get the Shea stadium Beatles and some newer songs and wardrobe change with different clips of news reels and beatle interviews along the way. Intermission allowed them to get into their Sgt. Pepper outfits set up a psychedelic stage with fog machines...we get more news clips of Vietnam and moon landing etc...and the show I guess added a Billy Preston character on keyboard to help out with all the strange noises the Beatles throw into the mix of the music. Anyway, it was a really great show! Chronicled their whole music career. My only problem was that the only song they played from the white album was revolution...i guess that's just my favorite Beatles album. It was really really good though! So those are my two stories from Hollywood. Hope everyone out there is doing well! it is tuesday which means i'll be playing some tunes in Venice at the Whaler! I might have to play a Beatles song!

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