Friday, December 18, 2015

Yellowpoint show wraps up this weekend

We’ve just wrapped up the Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular’s two-week run in Cedar with 6 sold-out shows. It’s now on to the Port Theatre in Nanaimo for four final performances this weekend. I looked on yesterday and tickets are in very short supply.

Jump on it folks if you want to go. I have the feeling all the remaining shows will soon be sold out.

I couldn’t attend my wife Pat’s final Christmas concert with the Timbre! Choir in Port Alberni last Sunday. Pat always expresses to me shortly before concerts her worries that the choir will not be ready for a particular performance. I habitually chuckle silently to myself. I was between shows at Yellowpoint when I received the expected text on my iPhone from her. “Best ever” the text read.

 FINAL WEEKEND - FRI. DEC 18 (7pm), SAT. DEC 19 (3pm & 7pm), SUN. DEC. 20, (3pm)

My father made this plywood cutout of carolers in 1946. The cutout was mounted that year on the roof of our family home on South Crescent in Port Alberni. I still display the carolers in my front yard at Christmas. The decoration has never been repainted, its vivid colours intact, likely due to the amount of lead allowed in paint at the time. 

 I recently found this black & white photo from 1946 of the plywood cutout mentioned above. The carolers are mounted for the first time on the snowy roof of our family home. 

Some folks in our Nanaimo neighborhood go all out. This close-by neighbor has no less than 12 fan-driven decorations occupying every square foot of their front yard. Seeing them all deflated during the day when the power is shut off is not a pretty sight. However, at night the display is unquestionably a car-stopping spectacle.
Sinatra explored as never before.

The past several weeks I’ve been wading through a 992-page tome called Sinatra: The Chairman by James Kaplan. I also downloaded from iTunes Ultimate Sinatra ($10), a single-disc containing a cross-section of Sinatra's unparalleled recording career. Led by 'All Or Nothing At All' and closed with a previously unreleased alternate version of 'Just In Time,' the collection is stacked with standouts, including 'I'll Never Smile Again' (1940), 'I've Got The World On A String' (1953), 'In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning' (1955), 'I've Got You Under My Skin' (1956), 'Come Fly With Me' (1957), 'The Way You Look Tonight' (1964), 'Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words)' (1964), 'Strangers In The Night' (1966), 'My Way' (1968), and 'Theme From New York, New York' (1979), among many more. I decided not to spring for the elaborate 4-disk Centennial Collection at $40.

Sinatra: The Chairman is a riveting read. One reviewer Globe correspondent Julia Klein in my opinion put it best, saying the book is “a juicy, painstakingly researched, excitingly written examination of a brilliant musician, an uneven and temperamental actor, and a charming erratic, deeply flawed man.” Wow, that’s a mouthful.

Having lived in Los Angeles while attending music college in the late 50’s and early 60’s, I most enjoyed the detail to the events surrounding Sinatra’s recording sessions that took place in those years at the new Capitol Studios on Vine Street just a few blocks from where I lived. It gave me a new appreciation of the songs as I listened to them while reading the book.

Regrettably for my taste, at times the music almost seems secondary given Sinatra’s lifestyle which was domineered by dozens of beautiful women, The Mob, politics and booze. Yes, Sinatra had issues and the author describes them in great detail. However, whenever the text became excessively tragic for me to read on, I just punched up the CD and listened. The man’s digressions quickly faded. For me, Sinatra was and always will be the consummate vocalist. Paraphrasing the words of Frank’s mammoth hit from 1968 declare, He did it His Way.

Having a 4-day break from the Yellowpoint show I was able to get in several days aboard my electric bike. Where else except Canada’s West Coast can one ride a bike in December? However, I confess last year around this time I went for a night-time ride on my old 10-speed and didn’t realize the streets were skating rinks of black ice. I ended up sliding across our cul-de-sac on my backside with the bike on top of me. Ever since I make sure the roads are dry before venturing out.

However, there will be no bike ride today. As I write this blog it’s actually snowing outside.

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