Friday, March 30, 2007



MARTIN GAYFORD, TELEGRAPH, UK - [You Tube] become home to an important
archive of vintage musical footage, particularly for jazz fans. Pop
music's big live moments tend to take place in front of massive
audiences and are well documented in film. But golden moments in jazz
are often improvised and unexpected, as likely to have taken place in
someone's front room or at a private party, as at an organized concert.

And, of course, there is often something casual and intimate about the
way in which jazz is performed that lends itself to this casual,
intimate - and sometimes downright amateur - medium. A smile, a frown or
a glance means a lot, so it's highly revealing to watch, as I just have,
Bud Powell playing piano in a cramped Parisian club in 1959. . .

One clip leads to another. You might begin with Lester Young in 1946,
then click to Miles Davis in '58. Once started, it's hard to stop. Just
before I began to write this piece - in fact, at the time I planned to
start tapping at the keyboard - I thought I'd take a quick look at one
or two items merely to refresh my memory. Three-quarters of an hour
slipped by. . .

One snippet I stumbled upon the other day documents Zoot Sims, a tenor
saxophonist I especially love, performing Sweet Lorraine in someone's
sitting-room in Sweden in 1984. Sims, who died the following year, looks
gaunt, but is playing wonderfully.

Another nice nugget presents Ben Webster, that most seductively romantic
and rich-toned of all saxophonists, late in his life and "somewhere in
Europe" with Teddy Wilson on piano. They play a touching version of Old
Folks, and when the camera pans back to Webster's face after Wilson's
solo, his cheeks are streaked with tears.





NOAM COHEN, NY TIMES - The feud between the Colombian writer Gabriel
García Márquez and the Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, onetime best
of friends, had all the elements of a literary classic: accusations of
betrayal, jealousy and adultery, and a brutal encounter 31 years ago
when things turned bloody. That all changed this month, with the
publication of two black-and-white portraits taken on Valentine's Day,
1976, in Mexico City that show Mr. García Márquez with a shiner — in
turns smiling and serious — two days after being slugged by Mr. Vargas
Llosa. The writers are said not to have spoken to each other since the
fight. . .

In his essay Mr. Moya sets the scene: a Mexico City movie theater packed
with people attending the premiere of a film about the plane crash
survivors in the Andes who turned to cannibalism. At one point Mr.
Vargas Llosa rushes up to Mr. García Márquez, who innocently tries to
embrace him. Instead Mr. Vargas Llosa decks him, Mr. García Márquez's
blood gushing everywhere.

Some had surmised that the fight may have been over politics, since Mr.
García Márquez has always been on the left and Mr. Vargas Llosa at the
time had begun to migrate to the right. (He later made an unsuccessful
attempt to run for president of Peru in 1990 as a free marketeer.) But,
as Mr. Moya explains, the cause was a woman, specifically, Mr. Vargas
Llosa's wife, whom Mr. García Márquez consoled during a difficult period
in the marriage.



VOTE FOR THE WORST: VFTW was started in 2004 to support voting for the
entertaining contestants who the producers would hate to see win on
American Idol. Why do we do it? During the initial auditions, the
producers of Idol only let certain people through. Many good people are
turned away and many bad singers are kept around to see Simon, Paula,
and Randy so that America will be entertained.

Now why do the producers do this? It's simple: American Idol is not
about singing at all, it's about making good reality TV and enjoying the
cheesy, guilty pleasure of watching bad singing. We agree that a fish
out of water is entertaining, and we want to acknowledge this fact by
encouraging people to make an even funnier show by helping the amusing
antagonists stick around. VFTW sees keeping these contestants around as
a golden opportunity to make a funnier show. . .

We want this hilariously bad entertainment to continue into the finals,
so we choose the contestant that we feel provides the most entertaining
train wreck performances and we start voting for them. We don't
necessarily vote for the worst technical singer; we take into account
many factors like if they have crazy personalities, how well they dance
and move around the stage, if they have an attitude, if they annoy the
general public or judges, etc. . .

American Idol producers don't like this though, because they've already
spent time "pimping" the contestant that they want to win. Because they
don't like our site, Fox has called us "hateful" and "mean spirited". .
. How can the producers let Simon mock some of the contestants but then
let us be called "vicious" when a campaign exists to help those very
contestants? We don't hate the people we vote for, we actually love



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