17-year-old Nigerian student Joshua Umia is getting a lot of attention for his homemade action films with special effects, especially his remake of a Flash vs Zoom episode - which are all filmed on a Blackberry Bold 5.
How Randy Newman and His Family Have Shaped Movie Music for Generations by David Kamp [Vanity Fair] Sure, you know of the Oscar-winning composer behind Toy Story and his endearingly offbeat songwriting, but Newman, 72, is also the patriarch of a clan that has helped shape movie music since the talkies. [more inside]
The Best Pole Dance Ever. SLYT. Banish your preconceived notions and prepare to be amazed.
Know who's more fun at parties than you? This guy. [slyt]
Thailand's Got Talent: Boy or Girl? (SYTL) Maybe this reinforces some cliches, and maybe it's overwrought and scripted reality tv, but I still found this pretty sweet.
Vanessa Mae Nicholson is one of Britain’s most successful young musicians. A classical violinist and former child prodigy who self-describes her crossover style as "violin techno-acoustic fusion," her fans praise her modern creativity and frenetic, lightning-fast riffs. But is her talent learned or genetic? Documentary from BBC1 in 2008: Vanessa Mae - The Making of Me: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. [more inside]
In the unusual talent department, a recent episode of Pilipinas Got Talent featured a not-to-be-missed performance of Banal Na Aso Santong Kabayo by Big Mouth. [more inside]
Simon Dyson was the winner at the Dunhill Links Championship, but Manuel de los Santos may have made the biggest impression at the pro-am event, which was played on St. Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie. De los Santos, 25, is a former baseball player who lost a leg in a car accident and picked up golf in 2004, after moving from his native Dominican Republic to France. He plays to a 3-handicap without the aid of a prosthesis.
Dick Stacey's Country Jamboree is now available on DVD/CD after years of slowly fading into obscurity. "I was wrong in thinking the Jamboree was a thing of the past," said Dick Stacey, a man whose three gas stations and motel took over sponsoring this uniquely Maine talent showcase on a whim in 1973—and ended up lasting just over a decade. [more inside]
Long before Robert Johnson ever went down to the crossroads, violinist & composer Niccolo Paganini was rumored to have sold his soul to the devil in exchange for musical ability. Evidence against this theory: Paganini's 5th Caprice actually prevented the devil from stealing The Karate Kid's soul (the devil settled for stealing Ralph Macchio's career instead). Evidence in favor of this theory: When played on acoustic guitar, the virtuosity in his 24th Caprice really seems supernaturally inspired. For my money, however, the perfect storm of ominous music & stringed instruments comes together in this version of Carmina Burana (mp3 direct download), arranged for solo banjo.
After a Noel Mewton-Wood performance of Hindemith's (.pdf) Ludus Tonalis, Dame Myra Hess exclaimed: ‘The boy is truly remarkable, and what shall he be like at 40-odd?’. Glowing testimonials to his ‘genius’ (Sir Malcolm Sargent) from Beecham, Schnabel, Bliss, Hindemith and Britten were countered by indifference from the major record labels and concert managements. In 1953, at the age of 31, the pianist, a shy young man susceptible to depression, committed suicide. Now, the Lesbian and Gay Newsmedia Archive of Middlesex University offers a scan of the The London Evening News page with the report of Mewton-Wood's death. And here is a mp3 page with some of his out-of-print work.