25 November 2009

Now thank we all our God

Happy Thanksgiving.
In the midst of the Civil War in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln had the nation set aside the 4th Thursday in November "as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens." Thus began the modern version of the holiday still celebrated on the the 4th Thursday of November.
Of course there were Thanksgivings long before 1863. The one we most look back towards is the 3 day feast at the Plymouth Plantation in 1621. We love the pilgrim epic. But I still don't get why they wore their belts on their hats!
There are 2 other contenders for the 1st Thanksgiving: one in St. Augustine, FL in 1532 and another near Jamestown, VA at Berkley Hundred in 1619. Neither of these make the childrens' books.
What began as a sacred state sanctioned holiday has over the many years become secularized or at the very least the prayer and praise part have fallen into disuse.
Henry Ironside once said "We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction."
He was not speaking about the holiday, yet it speaks to the original spirit of the day in a surprising way. Even if one does not fear God, I'd think that having a gratiful attitude would do wonders to the person. The double Ds, discontent and dissatisfaction, run rampant over our country. No doubt we are facing tough times and pessimism allies itself with the Ds. How great a disaster it would be if not a word of thanks be given on Thanksgiving.
Keep up the good fight and give thanks!
More interesting Thanksgiving quotes here.

24 November 2009

Another way to see the Nutcracker - on horseback

I was looking through the Chicago theater listings for what is playing over the holiday season. I was equally surprised and amazed by this rendition of the Nutcracker.
That's right. Chicagoans can see The Nutcracker on horseback. The Noble Horse Theater is the only venue in North America performing it in this manner. According to history, this was how the play was first produced back in the 19th century. Not until 1892 did Tchaikovsky set it to music and it became a ballet.
Not much on horseback theatrics on the interwebs so this theater must be a revival of a tradition long forgotten. Probably because we drive automobiles now.

17 November 2009

20 years onward: George M!

The Par Ki musical of 1989 was George M! Pictured are Lynette, Mike, Rachel, and Peter. They possibly don't recollect ever being in this show.
It's been 20 years since the production since the Par Ki production of George M! Can you believe it?
Well, no. It's a rather forgettable show.
However, old Georgie was the last of the great big D.O. productions. Yeah, he did do 42nd Street the following year but the production values of that show were vastly different than the epic George M! and had a different production staff. That was D.O's swan song. George M! was his War and Peace.
George M! weighed in at just a smidgen under 3 hours as I recall. Ok maybe more like 2 and some change. But this was a monstrous musical in which much of the book was re-written or added on to to make it a somewhat coherent bio-musical of George M. Cohan.
Out of the gate George M! was not that great a musical. It hardly garnered any plaudits in its Broadway run in the late 1960's. Joel Grey and Bernadette Peters headlined the cast with the great Joe Layton directing. It ran about 1 season before disappearing entirely from Broadway repertoire. It shows up occasionally on the community theater circuit.
I love Cohan, his life and his music but George M! was sort of a messy undertaking, hence I reason the need for rewrites and added material for the Par Ki production. I think George M Tonight is probably the superior show about Cohan.
Back to the Par Ki production. It was my first production in high school so it holds a special place in my heart. I think I was unofficially the understudy to George. I remember one night, it was getting close to curtain and the guy who played George had not shown. That's actually when I learned I was the understudy. Boy, the communication about that was bad. Today I could probably pull it off. Back then, I'd be on a wing and a prayer.
I recall some stunts we pulled the last 2 performances. In the boarding house scene (Madame Grimaldi I presume) I had placed some fake eyeballs in the soup turine. Man the actors really reacted to that. Then I think I did a random walk on bit during some street scene. I seem to remember one cast member doing a walk on bit soliciting a prostitute in the same street scene.
There may still be a video of 1 or 2 performances of the musical out there. The last time I looked I think the tape was nearing brokenness.
The original George M! showed up on in a TV special starring Grey and Peters in the 70s but its rare. I believe there is a clip on YouTube.
Georgie certainly hasn't been forgotten as his birthplace Providence, R.I. most recently erected a statue of him this summer.

14 November 2009

And now a scene from Star Wars

Star Wars Uncut - Scene 086 from Liam Royce on Vimeo.

Now you can see what I've been up to in that month in video production.

It's only about 15 seconds but I was pretty much my own production company.

I'm hoping to make more as time is available.

12 November 2009

By George: Is a George Burns resurgance coming?

I had a friend in high school who seemed to be a fan of George Burns. My friend's desire was to see George Burns perform on his 10oth birthday (not my friend but George) in Las Vegas. In those olden times, George was still alive and kicking. Just as he was about to celebrate his 100 years, his demise began. Well it actually it happened a few years before after a fall in the bathtub. The performances were cancelled. My friend never spoke of George again. But then again, I did not see him until my class reunion a number of years later. He may have spoken about George but who knows?

Well, Pixar put out the movie UP! this summer which features a character that seemingly looks a little like George Burns. It may just be that all old men look alike. Nevertheless, Carl Fredricksen is an older gentleman. Another old man gives him his voice, the venerable Edward Asner. I find it odd that he has a few Star Wars credits. None of the movies but he plays Jabba the Hut in the radio version of Return of the Jedi (John Lithgow plays Yoda, figuire that out.)
They have never appeared together in a film or TV show but both are Jewish.
So check out the images, see what you think.
Anyways, I am hoping for a George Burns resurgence. Like remastered versions of Oh God and Burns and Allen. But perhaps my plea is falling on deaf ears. I should probably petition the postal service to put on a stamp with the likeness of George on it. That may spurr interest. Actually my wish has come true.
P.S. My Star Wars remake video will be coming out soon. It's only 15 seconds.

10 November 2009

Something to sit next to my emmy

While I spent the weekend in the Twin Towns and watched an incredible hockey game at the Xcel Energy Center (amongst other things), the film project which I worked on as part of Testudo Studio got a screening at the Forx Film Fest.
Testudo Studios filmed Mary Weatherby (MW) in late 2008 and early 2009 around the Go region. I was responsible for props and lended a hand as a gaffer occasionally during the shoots. Film making is a slow process. But if you film well, editing goes quicker. This movie featured the guy who played Brad Billups in Fantasy 10 from the 2008 48 Hour Film Project and a rabbi. Sounds like a joke, right? Nope. It's one of those behind the scenes things you'd only learn from the Royce Files. The rabbi in fact was very impressive.
MW's premiere took place in June.
Not sure who was responsible for getting MW into the Forx Film Fest, but I'd say it was an ex op even though it is hardly a blip on the map the way film festivals go. I can't find much about it online except some 3rd source created wiki without an entry for 2009. So I cannot prove that MW won best feature or audience favorite. I actually don't know what it won but reliable sources say it won something.
Now I have something to put next to that regional emmy I share with a boatload of other folks for Intramural Glory. And that sheet of paper for audience favorite for Fantasy 10. Woohoo!

03 November 2009

Dastardly disguises - finale

Now we come to the finale of our show and we pull all the stops on this final scene but we meet some interesting guests in this scene

Finale- Gathering of the disguises- Clown man, Blindlike man with beads, Mr. Monopoly, Ron Burgundy, Poodle Skirter, Scary Hair (partially blocked), and Waldo. Why would this motley crew of peeps come together?

For the money! They are attending a costume contest and believe there will be a large cash reward for the victorious one. However, being the devious individuals that they are, they come together in order to swipe the prize money.

Unfortunately, Mr. Monopoly is named the winner and so decides to keep the prize for himself. Ron Burgundy will have none of this injustice amongst costumed crooks. So just as the prize is awarded, mayhem ensues and Mr. Monopoly runs away with the prize. Now the chase begins. Scary Hair lays the smack down on Mr. Monopoly but Waldo slips by unnoticed, swiping the prize. Using his unusual talent of hiding, Waldo cannot be found.
Fortunately, Jedis have been dispatched to foil the crime- a master and his apprentice. But which one is which? The Jedis using their special talents discover Waldo's hiding place and chase him into the ventilation shaft. The other disguised ones scramble to help but are no match for the Jedi. Even ol' Gil T. Robot is slain at the hands of the Jedi.
The prize is reliquished by the defeated Waldo and is then awarded to someone dressed like a lady bug.
The Jedi are rewarded with various sugar-free, organic, free-trade, treats.
(Many long time readers may recognize a former blog contributor, James, in the above photo. James' most famous contribution to the blog involved researching the buttload. He is not currently attending the Jedi Academy but is an "aide" to Yoda.)

01 November 2009

Dastardly disguises- scene 6

Scene six- The Pinko
It may be hard to distinguish this Pinkerton Detective from some ordinary joe with a bowler and mustache for an earlier time. James McParland had infiltrated the Molly Maguires and he hopes to stop you from doing anything that might be illegal. Although he may not be able to infiltrate your peer group, he may use other methods to prevent you from comitting a crime. He would stop at nothing to get you behind bars. Like him or not, McParland always gets his man (or woman if that be you.) No doubt he is on the tails of all the other denizens we have met in the dastardly disguises series.

All Saints Evening in Diguise

Late Hallows' Eve, I took for the downtown in search of disguises after donning myself in yet another costume. This time I went old timey: suit, bow tie, mustache, and bowler. Downtown I had a few people think I was Charlie Chaplin (wrong type of mustache) or Harry Houdini (never had a mustache). I thought I looked more like a Pinkerton Agent although I can find no photo evidence to prove it. Behind me you can see Brad Childress taking a break for love. Lots of sports oriented costumes. I think I saw England soccer stud Wayne Rooney, basketball players, Brett Favre. Zombies were pretty common too. As has been the trend the last few years, women are wearing less. I am surprised they are even out because of the cold. Some men too were also seen wearing less. Not any elaborate costumes from what I saw. I did see one abandoned costume- Chinese Take -Out. If you can't handle the bulk don't put it on. Easier said than done.

I saw an odd electronic like piece of something that looked akin to a bomb in the gutter. A lady aiming for the gutter almost hit me with vomit.
Saw numerous women having difficulty in high heels.
Zach Morris (of Saved by the Bell fame) was in town but didn't give me a high five.
However, Drew Carey was and gave me a slightly off low five.

A troupe of Emmett Kellys passed me and Mr & Mrs Incredible were trying to keep warm a few meters form me.

Finally a nearly full moon beamed down upon the city. And that's it from Halloween for 2009. No treats or tricks.