As I write this, I’m listening to the BeeGees’ “Trafalgar” (on vinyl), inspired by a viewing last night of “That Hamilton Woman,” a 1941 film starring then-newlyweds Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh as, respectively, Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson and Lady Emma Hamilton, who carried on a long-term affair while both were married to others and Nelson was keeping England safe in perpetual naval battle with Napoleon.
It was a big, grand, old-fashioned movie, part manly action flick (the sea battle was quite impressive for its time) and soapy chick weepie. Watching old movies, especially ones with torrid love affairs, shown in chaste 1940’s style, where passionate kisses are strictly lips smushed together (no tongues, please!), makes me wonder how the great screen couples of that period – Leigh and Olivier, Hepburn and Tracy, Gable and Lombard – would have handled the Nearly Anything Goes style of today’s sexy films. How would these great screen icons have played tonsil-hockey?
Olivier has a death scene, too, as Nelson is killed in battle at Trafalgar (hence, the inspiration for today’s musical selection and accompanying visual). I know I’m watching way too much MSNBC when, in the middle of our tragic hero's death throes, I’m thinking to myself that he kinda looks like pundit David Corn, of Mother Jones magazine…And then there’s the moment when Leigh/Lady Hamilton gets news of Nelson's demise and goes into a immobile stare before collapsing to the ground. Cinephiles tend to talk about so-and-so’s death scene, but I’m actually more fascinated by actors who need to portray the intense emotion of hearing that a beloved one has died. On the whole, Vivien Leigh did a pretty good job.
Anyway, that’s the sex and death part. As for battles of the non-naval type, I was asked to judge again this past week at Jammin Java’s6th Mid-Atlantic Band Battle. I was there for two nights; seven bands competed on each night for top honors and the right to return for the finals in February. Fourteen acts in two nights...it's still a bit of a blur.
Local musician Nate Ihara, of We Were Kings, hosted again and he always does a good job of pimping this here blog when he introduces me in the Meet the Judges moments, promising photos, videos and scandalous backstage stories. Sorry to say there’s no scandal here, but I did post a story and photo slideshow of Wednesday night’s event at examiner.com. So, please visit there and you can get a full(er) report.
In that article (part two, covering Thursday night, will follow soon), I gave background on the competition and tried to give each band at least one photo; most got two. Needing to stay put at the judges’ table, I wasn’t able to get up close, and some bands were just easier than others to shoot from a distance. I have a few random shots that didn’t run in the examiner story as they would have looked redundant. Here, then, are some outtakes for y’all:
|The Dirty Jacks won the night, although there was some stiff competition.|
|Grand Rivival opened the show. Turns out, I had seen them at a previous MABB (put their name in the search and you'll see). With a new drummer, the band has really tightened its sound since then.|
|Grand Revival again (note shirtless guitarist on left).|
|Here's Groove 8, whom I would definitely try to catch again.|
|The Later Sun brought some nice folk-rock harmonies to the evening.|
|Finally, the "dreamy" (he likes me to say that) Nate Ihara, opening the envelope that contains the name of the winning band.|
As I said, a second examiner.com story will go up soon. My twitter account (@mariannemeyer) will announce it right away, or you can watch this space.