House on Haunted Hill


We used to watch this entertaining film on TV when I was young.  Vincent Price stars as an eccentric millionaire, who, along with his 4th wife, invite 5 people to their “haunted house” party.  The seemingly random invitees are offered $10,000 each, if they are brave enough to spend the night in their creepy house.  Crazy, strange & inexplicable (well, maybe explicable) stuff happens to each of the guests, but mainly it seems that Vincent Price just wants to scare his annoying wife to death, which he does, by using a full size marionette of a skeleton, getting her to fall into a convenient pool of acid he maintains in the basement.  Great sound effects & music, by the way! Here’s the entire movie on YouTube!!!  Watch the very beginning and end, for the fabulous intro and outro by Elisha Cook Jr.

Teremtés by Márta Sebestyén

Some years ago, I stumbled upon an audio CD:  The Best of Márta Sebestyén, a Hungarian singer.  Her soothing vocals and folk instrumentations are a thing of beauty.  Of course, not speaking Hungarian, I had no idea what the lyrics or titles meant, that is, until now!  Here is the translation for the song Teremtés, which was written by Sebestyén:

Creation (Teremtés)

Let’s the man knead God from clay,

Who will create world for him,

Where the man could fold paperboat for himself

and can get away with it the Flood.

Always look for new shores

to become dry.

Always look for new shores,

Until the last tide will wash him away.

Always look for new shores

to become dry.

Always look for new shores,

Until the last tide will wash him away.

Here’s a cool thing:  Google the word Teremtés, and click on “Images”.

Florida “Night Music”

Actually, it’s very early in the morning in a mangrove swamp.  Originally I was just going to post up the sound, but decided to add the time-lapse of the palm trees set against the starry sky, so it’s a bit of a cheat, but that’s show biz.

The Angry Red Planet


Today, we can enjoy the great Ridley Scott film adaptation of  The Martian but let us not forget the many, many Mars films which preceded it, like, for example, The Angry Red Planet released in 1959.  I actually saw this film in a movie theatre when I was 9 years old!  Even then, I was not fooled by the cartoonish special effects, but still, I was taken in by the film’s overall “weird factor” which was highlighted by the grim seriousness of the actors portraying the first earthlings to travel to the “angry” red planet and suffer through quite a traumatic experience.  Written & Directed by Ib Melchoir who would later go on to write another Mars epic:  Robinson Crusoe on Mars released in 1964 (I find out that Ib Melchoir just passed away this year at age 98!).  Supposedly, the strange look of the Martian scenes resulted from a film developing error, which Melchoir decided to exploit, hoping to camouflage the fake looking special effects.  Say what you will about the quality of the film, it has managed to stay lodged in my memory for over 50 years, and that’s a good thing!

Rather than post up a trailer, here is a scene from the film, wherein our intrepid explorers encounter a gigantic and horrible Martian “Bat/Spider Monster” which they (at first) mistake for a Martian tree.  (I love it that they are equipped with machetes):

Lang Lang tackles Prokofiev’s 7th Piano Sonata

I guess there are those purists who are put off by Lang Lang’s theatrics, but no one would deny that this is a supremely talented & gifted musician.  While I have always admired Maurizio Pollini’s take on this work which has been considered the “Gold Standard” since he recorded it in 1971, there is much to admire here with Lang Lang’s interpretation (AND the wonderful photography of a live recital).

Here’s the slow but beautiful middle section:

And finally, the cacophonous finale: