Archive for April, 2011

Winners: Mary Claire and Frank

We had a good turnout for the first ever, multi-media TNBE. Although not much went right for the guest moderator, a lot went right for Mary Claire and Frank. In fact, Frank almost aced the first four rounds, before fading a bit at the finish. Mary Claire, a returning veteran of the game, was surprised to be playing with photos, video and music, but took it all in stride and finished strong, especially on the art questions and tied for the lead at the very end.

The best that can be said for the effort to bring some media to the game was provided by flyboy Bob: “Looks like  a work in progress, Greg.” The wifi hotspot went cold, and the replacement network choked on the video. The laptop speakers were not powerful enough to carry the sound to the raucous crowd and some of the photos, which had transitioned from a mac to a pc (bad idea), were ridiculously small. Looks like Mistress Daphne will not be replaced anytime soon. As someone said: “Greg, better not give up your day job.”

This week we will be back to a more traditional game with guest moderator JohnnyG. Some of you may have played his Wedenesday lunch trivia game at Main Street Cafe, which were always challenging, but fair – expect a lot of fun.

Good Question: Who wrote the lyrics and music to the film “West Side Story”?

Answer: Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein

West Side Story (1961) is an energetic, widely-acclaimed, melodramatic musical – a modern-day, loose re-telling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet tragedy of feuding families, although the setting is the Upper West Side of New York City in the late 1950s with conflict between rival street gangs rather than families. West Side Story is still one of the best film adaptations of a musical ever created, and the finest musical film of the 60s – who can forget that electrifying opening “Prologue.”

Like many other musicals of its time, Hollywood again looked to a successful Broadway stage play (first starring Carol Lawrence and Larry Kert) for its source material. An almost completely new cast was assembled, except for actor George Chakiris (who played Riff, NOT Bernardo, in the London production). After her success in Spendor in the Grass (1961), Natalie Wood was chosen for the lead female role and Richard Beymer, known for his performance as Peter Van Daan in George Stevens’ The Diary of Anne Frank (1959), took the lead male role which was also considered for Marlon Brando and Elvis Presley.

Chita Rivera, the Broadway actress who played the part of the tempestuous Anita, was replaced by Rita Moreno, known for her role as Tuptim in The King and I (1956). Supporting actor Russ Tamblyn, known for many roles in films such as Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) and Peyton Place (1957), played the role of Riff.

The ground-breaking, dynamic film of 1961 was based on the successful Broadway hit – a staged musical play (opening in 1957) by writer Arthur Laurents and directed/choreographed by Jerome Robbins. The play reworked the traditional love story material (of lovers that crossed racial/ethnic barriers) and translated it, in a radical, novel and revolutionary style for a musical, to include racial strife between rival New York street gangs (newly-arrived Puerto Ricans and second-generation Americans from white European immigrant families), juvenile delinquency and inner-city problems of the mid-twentieth century – in exhilarating musical and dance form.

To capture the realism of the social tragedy and its urban environment, some of the film was shot on location in Manhattan (in abandoned West Side tenements around 110th St., and other settings), but most of it was actually filmed on sound stages with stylized, artificial studio sets.

The stage book was rewritten and adapted for the screen by Ernest Lehman, and the film retained the beautiful and electrifying musical score, songs and lyrics of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. It was co-directed by two clashing individuals from the start – veteran director Robert Wise and exciting choreographer Jerome Robbins.

Both shared credit for the film’s direction although Robbins was removed after a few months due to schedule delays, the over-budget production, disagreements with Wise over the film’s degree of faithfulness to the stage production, and Robbins’ potentially-expensive demands for perfection.

The four kinetic dance sequences that Robbins choreographed (“Prologue,” “America,” “Cool,” and “Something’s Comin'”) and the jazzy, interpretative score of Bernstein rhythmically communicate the passionate intensity, frustration and tough violence of the streets.

The singing of both leads was dubbed: Jimmy Bryant for former child actor Richard Beymer, and Marni Nixon for Natalie Wood, and the vocals by Rita Moreno were enhanced by Betty Wand for “A Boy Like That”. [Marni Nixon also dubbed Audrey Hepburn’s singing voice in My Fair Lady (1964).]

The much-praised, box-office blockbuster for United Artists received eleven Academy Award nominations and won all but one – Best Adapted Screenplay. Its achievement as a ten Oscar winner has only been surpassed by three films (all with eleven Oscars): Ben-Hur (1959), Titanic (1997), and The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003). Robbins was also awarded a special statuette for “his brilliant achievements in the art of choreography on film.” Robbins was the only Best Director Oscar winner to win for the only film he ever directed.

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Winners: Paula and Dumbo

Tonight’s quiz focused on earth day and what we learned was pretty scary. Actually, what we didn’t know should be of concern, too. In fact, the winners barely had 50% right, and were as surprised as anyone that they had won. It seemed fitting that Dumbo, whose win we celebrated in the very first issue of this blog, would appear again as a winner on the first anniversary of the Tuesday Nite Bar Exam blog.

Tonight we learned that glass takes a million years to decompose, that Americans throw out 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour, and that we earthlings use 3 billion gallons of oil every day. – Yikes!

But it wasn’t all serious stuff. Darin demonstrated a wrestling move that had been the answer to one of the questions. Mistress Daphne, her somewhat unwilling partner, learned a very important lesson about wrestling – don’t wear jewelry, especially big broaches that will impale your chest and cause all sorts of pain.

Good Question!: Where was Greenpeace founded?

Answer: Canada

O Canada! In 1971, motivated by their vision of a green and peaceful world, a small team of activists set sail from Vancouver, Canada, in an old fishing boat. These activists, the founders of Greenpeace, believed a few individuals could make a difference.

Their mission was to “bear witness” to US underground nuclear testing at Amchitka, a tiny island off the West Coast of Alaska, which is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone regions.

Amchitka was the last refuge for 3000 endangered sea otters, and home to bald eagles, peregrine falcons and other wildlife.

Even though their old boat, the Phyllis Cormack, was intercepted before it got to Amchitka, the journey sparked a flurry of public interest.

The US still detonated the bomb, but the voice of reason had been heard. Nuclear testing on Amchitka ended that same year, and the island was later declared a bird sanctuary.

Today, Greenpeace is an international organisation that prioritises global environmental campaigns. Based in Amsterdam, Greenpeace has 2.8 million supporters worldwide, and national as well as regional offices in 41 countries.

Some recent Greenpeace successes include:

March 2011: Princes, a leading tinned tuna brand, finally got your message that their ocean destruction is unacceptable. Thanks to your efforts – the company has just announced a plan to change the way it gets its tuna. After receiving over 80,000 emails from Greenpeace supporters, Princes said it will no longer rely on indiscriminate and destructive fishing methods that kill all kinds of marine creatures like sharks and rays. More

November 2010: Greenpeace’s 20-year campaign against climate-killing chemical HFC catalyzes a groundbreaking committment when the 400 companies of the Consumer Goods Forum of the US agree to climate-friendly refrigeration beginning in 2015. More

May 2010: Over 25 years of Greenpeace efforts to expose and oppose nuclear waste shipments from France to Russia end in victory when Russia puts an end to the practice. The illegality of the shipments was confirmed when French officials admitted that the stated intention to reprocess and return the fuel was false. Attention to the shipments was sparked in 1984 when Greenpeace revealed that the shipping vessel Mont Louis, which sank in the North Sea, was carrying Uranium Hexaflouride.  More

May 2010: Nestlé agrees to stop purchasing palm-oil from sources which destroy Indonesian rainforests. The decision caps eight weeks of massive pressure from consumers via social media and non-violent direct action by Greenpeace activists as the company concedes to the demands of a global campaign against its Kit Kat brand. More

November 2009: Household chemical giant Clorox announces a phase out of the use and transport of dangerous chlorine gas in the US, bowing to years of pressure on the industry from Greenpeace. More

October 2009: Apple clears the last hurdle to removing toxic PVC plastic in its new Macbook and iMac, capping the “Green my Apple”  campaign with a win and making Apple products safer, easier to recycle and causing less pollution at the end of their life.  More

October 2009: Plans to build the Kingsnorth coal power plant are shelved, following a three-year campaign by Greenpeace to stop the first new coal-plant build in 20 years in the UK.  A landmark courtcase in 2008 acquitted six Greenpeace activists of criminal damage on the grounds that their actions against the plant were justified to stop greater damage from climate change.

sources: greenpeace.org, wikipedia

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