Larry Kart

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About Larry Kart

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  • Birthday 05/16/1942

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  • Gender Male
  • Location Highland Park, Il.

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  1. Help!

    It was Gopnik himself, dipping into his "I have deep thoughts" bag.
  2. Don Patterson

    Early 1970s.
  3. Don Patterson

    I once saw Patterson simulate cunnilingus on the organ (i.e. play the Hammond B-3 organ with his tongue as though the keyboard were ... you got it -- this replete with appropriate gestures and perhaps sounds too -- that I don't recall). Was this, I wonder, a normal part of his routine, or did I catch him when he was inspired? BTW, it was at a private party. P.S. Rest of the band was Von Freeman, guitarist Sam Thomas, and Wilbur Campbell. It was a party for a middle-aged couple who were celebrating a wedding anniversary.
  4. Help!

    Thinking of Gopnik again (sorry about that), to me much of this comes back to or down to the basic character of the writer -- as I said earlier, "Who are you?", "Where are you?." "What are you up to?" If the answers to those three questions are good ones/what they should be, ninety percent of the rest probably will take care of itself because such people would be fully motivated to do whatever needs to be done to get things right. If the answers of others to those questions are squishy or worse, then they'll cut corners, go off on self-serving tangents, puff up their partial knowledge into displays of faux omniscience, etc. The ten percent that writers of good character might miss? The ten percent. or whatever percentage, that is seemingly lost or more or less hidden in the recesses of time or in odd corners and calls for an indefatigable historical-minded scholar-detective with very good judgment like the late Larry Gushee (see his book on the Creole Jazz Band) to uncover and sort out. Very few people like that.
  5. What Classical Music Are You Listening To?

    Vallee d' Obermann -- amazing
  6. Help!

    Just to be clear, though this is peripheral to the concerns of most of us here, my lasting irritation with Gopnik is because IMO he's a particular kind of journalistic creep who has only Potemkin Village ideas and fairly often retails mis-information in an attempt to, as in the case I cited, add to his all-important air of casual omniscience. Given all that, Gopnik also matters if you think the New Yorker still matters, because he's become as crucial to that magazine's identity as any writer on its staff.
  7. Help!

    Admittedy, Gopnik irritates me, but in this piece, as in many others, I would say that he has no central idea but is merely agitating the air in attempt to convince us that ideas are being presented by him. Way back in 1945 the late Isaac Rosenfeld, in a piece about the New Yorker and E.B. White, nailed it when he referred to the Yiddish phrase "hacken a tcheinik, which means to chop up a teakettle, to talk up a breeze -- of nonsense." (That is, the steam from the kettle's spout is being pushed this way and that, chopped up, by the more or less meaningless words of the speaker.) Yes, there are times in the piece when one might think Gopnik is talking of deterioration, but in fact he's just talking about how "the plates move and shake in a genre of entertainment" -- what happens then," he continues "is that "you survive [if you do] by getting either smarter or more spectacular." Got that? And Lloyd Webber took the latter route, Sondheim the former. But then, in his final paragraph, as so often is the case with The Gop, he rather spinelessly tries to cover all bets and ends up saying almost nothing at all: "Spectacular is, in the end [love that "in the end"], a species of smart. Popular artists find solutions to problems presented by the circumstances of their time when no one else was aware of them until the artist solved them. Lloyd Webber solved the problem of how to make a credible spectacle from recycled material. Using fresher material to make something spectacular on its own terms remains the job that needs doing. Every good art form needs a phantom or two in the basement to haunt it. They just shouldn't be allowed the run of the house." .
  8. RIP Olly Wilson

    Threads branch. If you have something to add about the more than worthy Wilson, no one is stopping you.
  9. RIP Olly Wilson

    "He probably was lying." Steuermann gave the world premiere of the Schoenberg Piano Concerto in 1944 and performed it many times thereafter. One would think he'd know it by heart after a while. Further, if Steuermann hadn't memorized the score, why would he try to play that fairly complex work without one? You think he'd choose to get up there and just slop around? If that conductor, and Rosen for that matter, thought that Ravel's was a music of naivete, they were crazy. It's among the subtlest, slyest, at times one might say secretive music there is. Gaspard de la Nuit is a work of naivete? Mercy! And there are some interesting modern composers -- e.g. Englishmen Robin Holloway and Julian Anderson -- whose works bear definite traces of Ravel at times but are not in the least attempts to write in the style of. I've heard a few stories, I think from the late '40s, about people blanking while playing Schoenberg piano pieces and faking it. Yes, some people in the audience didn't notice because they didn't know the music yet, but those who knew it certainly did notice. In fact, in the one story about such an event that I recall, a young composer in the audience -- could it have been Morton Feldman, begorrah? -- went backstage afterwards and confronted the pianist, who tearfully confessed to what she had done. BTW, it it possible to hear any of your big band pieces on YouTube or the like?
  10. RIP Olly Wilson

    Yes, they're still around, and some of them, like Glass and Reich, have audiences that like their kind of thing, but concert audiences by and large? As for "All of these composers started out as serial composers, because that was all that was being taught in composition classes in the second half of the 20th Century," I don't think that the latter half of that sentence is true. Yes, there was a vogue or more than a vogue in academia for that style or discipline or what have you, but lots of composers, almost certainly including some on your list, managed to find other sorts of tutelage. BTW, the only audience for those latter-day serial composers was not "other serial composers." On a selective basis, I regularly listened to such music, in concert and on recordings, and I still do. Geez -- how can I take all that "anti-music"? I must be crazy. Nor was I the sole person in attendance at those concerts, and I think it's unlikely that everyone else present was a serial composer. And/or, as related by Charles Rosen, there's the fellow who came up to Eduard Steuermann after Steuermann had played Schoenberg's Piano Concerto without a score and demanded to know how he could do that, given that the music was sheer nonsense. When Steuermann replied that he had memorized the score long ago, the fellow said, "You're lying!"
  11. Help!

    Yes, he's rewriting history at times, and I sure don't like that, but even more, as I tried to describe above, it's the whole culture vulture/self advancement thing. It all gets back to the issues of character, perhaps -- as in "Who are you?"/"Why are you here?"/"What are you up to?" P.S. I'm 75, about to turn 76. Gopnik is 61.
  12. Help!

    I know of Gould through the famous Joseph Mitchell piece, never saw the movie but Holm is always work a look. Gopnik is the peculiar sort of dangerous jerk he is not only when he writes about jazz but also about almost anything. I don't know the man himself (or I know him only through his work), and I don't have intimate knowledge of the New Yorker culture, but I would guess it's not just that Gopnik's reach exceeds his grasp but that he sets himself up as a guy whose reach knows no limits, while a mag like the New Yorker needs or has come to need such non-expert would-be "experts" and finds it very useful to have them on staff. One could see how that evolved in the early days of Gopnik's tenure; a potential story would crop up, and Gopnik would raise his hand and say "I can do it!" The results, however flawed factually and otherwise, would then pass muster in a by-then somewhat damaged/corrupted New Yorker culture, and eventually Gopnik would become what he now is. The only real pushback against him that I know of came from Renata Adler in her book on the New Yorker, and Adler, while smart as heck and right about some things, also is, as a friend of mine once said, a "poisonous tree frog." As to how Gopnik actually goes about his business, I think I can testify on that because I was something of Gopnik figure myself at the Chicago Tribune for 25 years -- a cultural magpie who knew a lot (or something at least) about a good many things and would come to be called on when things in such areas were newsworthy. That wasn't that often, but when they arose, the need often was urgent and belated. My favorite example, which came early on, was when the great Jorge Luis Borges won a literary award from a new flush-with-bucks (and right-wing to boot) local outfit that was angling for coverage and had been fluffed off by several editors. Finally, someone from that outfit who had clout got through to top management, and the firebell rang. An editor came to me and said, "Do you know Borges?" I said that I knew his work. She said, "Fine -- you'll be interviewing him today at 11 a.m." (It was then 10 a.m.) I sputtered, began to panic a bit, but at 11 walked down to the hotel where Borges had been stashed. And the interview almost literally went like a dream --a perfect, semi-accidental meeting of minds, with both of us making lots of really oblique connections that we found stimulating/amusing. I won't go into detail, but trust me; it was like I was talking to Homer, for Heaven's sake, and we were having a real conversation over a campfire by the shores of the Aegean. Looking back, a key aspect was that my knowledge of Borges' work was not that of a culture vulture; what I'd read of Borges I'd read because it delighted me, not because I thought that knowing about him would make me look classy. On the other hand, as such incidents and patterns arose in the course of my time at the Trib, I began to become a bit playful about dropping a reference to Samuel Johnson into a piece about Mort Sahl or quoting a snippet from Walter Benjamin in a piece about children's books or comparing Mitzi Gaynor to a vintage Packard hood ornament (not quite the same thing as the first two examples, except for the playfulness and the unlikehood that that comparison had cropped up in previous reviews of Mitzi's show -- also both she and her manager-husband found it amusing, as I thought they would). But these bits of playfulness/incongruity were indulged in basically, so I think, to amuse myself, not to impress others, and I always made sure that what I wrote would still make good sense if, say, one didn't know who Walter Benjamin was -- though you would have to know what a vintage Packard hood ornament looked like. Getting back to Gopnik now -- in the vein I've touched upon above, he's a culture vulture whose chief goals IMO are impressing the audience and his elders (in the name of self-advancement) with how clever and culturally connected he is. And in order to accomplish this, he is (to switch birds) a cultural magpie -- collecting/accumulating/maybe even filing away all the references/snippets, etc. that he thinks might be useful in future performances of the Adam Gopnik show. The difference, if I can put myself in the picture again, is that what I've latched onto in those cultural realms over the years I did primarily out of pleasure, not out of self-advancement -- the proof perhaps being that I really didn't try or succeed that much in advancing myself, by those means or any other, though I suppose you could chalk that up to other aspects of my personality. In any case, as any number of Gopnik pieces make fairly clear, someone who is the kind of guy I think he is and who operates as I think he does, not only has very few real thoughts in his head but also doesn't quite often know how to handle with sufficient accuracy the cultural snippets he's stored up for use and has now hauled out before us in a practiced knowing manner -- doesn't quite know because contact and collection in the name of the sort of use Gopnik engages in is one thing, and contact in the name of pleasure, and incidental collection because what one likes or loves tends to stick in the mind ... well, you probably get the picture; context matters, and magpies usually don't know from context except by accident. Am I pinning a badge on myself here? Maybe so. But it's the only way I can think of to get to what it is about Gopnik that I find so pernicious. And it's not as tthough it's a badge that will get me admitted to any club.
  13. Help!

    Some nice Anthony Ortega on the Taylor-Jones MFL, First time I heard him. As for Magnificent Goldberg's post about latter-day cast albums that made the charts, Gopnik's point IIRC was not whether such albums made the charts but whether latter-day shows generated hit songs. Of the albums MG listed, the only one that did, I think, was "Hello Dolly." Was there a hit from "Hair"? I don't recall. "Fiddler" had "Sunrise, Sunset" and "Tradition," but I don't think they were hits.
  14. RIP Olly Wilson

    Looking at your list of the tonal composers of the 20th Century whose music continues to be chosen by performers to be presented in the concert hall and whose music people still find engaging -- Britten, Walton, Stravinsky, Bartok, Barber, Hanson, Honegger, Poulenc, Part, Shostokovich, Prokofiev, Copland -- I note that only one of them, Part, is among the living. Can you point to any living tonal composers who have gained a significant foothold with the concert music audience? BTW, I like the music of many of the composer on your list; I just feel that the tastes of the majority of the concert music audience are as I described them above.