Episode 007: New York Movie
In which we discuss Superman, Right Said Fred, and doppelgängers.
Going to the movies. Such a big part of my childhood. There were five theaters within walking distance, so my friends and I basically grew up there.
In 1978 I saw Superman at the Oritani Theater on Main Street in Hackensack, NJ. Or was it the Fox Theater? They were right across the street from one another.
When Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) said the nuclear bomb was headed for Hackensack, NJ...holy mackerel, the place went bananas.
Hackensack was having a moment there in ‘70s pop culture. Superman, Billy Joel, Steely Dan, Jim Croce...lots of name checks.
For me, the movie theater painting has to be Edward Hopper’s 1939 “New York Movie”, so let’s get to it.
I adore Hopper. I think you have to if you love both art and New York City. Recently was lucky enough to see the Hopper exhibition at The Whitney, and seeing this painting in person…wow.
We all want to know what the usher is thinking about. This being a 1930s love story type film we are spying on, I’ve always felt like she’s contemplating a love affair of her own. It may not be going too well.
Eyes down. Lost in thought. Is she gripping that flashlight too tightly?
I was very happy with how this reduction came out; the composition closely follows the original. Besides the usher herself, my favorite part is how the dimmed lights over the audience's head parallel the light over her. I tried to get that just right.
There was something about the piano figure in the A sections that forced me to play it repeatedly, with no variation. Ordinarily, to keep listeners' interest, I'll alter a few notes here and there at different points in the beat. But because the violin melody changed and climbed, I just left the piano alone. Something hypnotic about it I think.
Speaking of that violin, I needed the main theme of this to be sweeping. It is a love story, after all.
Also, I am currently devoted to the sample set I used for the violin. It was free. There are so many toys that you can spend so much money on, but you really don't have to.
Unless you’re writing soundtrack music or trying to imitate a full orchestra, of course. But, for my music, more often than not the worse it sounds, the better.
Finally, a friend said the second half of the opening piano theme, right after the arpeggio, sounds like the main theme in “I'm Too Sexy”. That jazzed me up.
Can we please discuss the fact pointed out by Polyester City’s intrepid editor (and my wife) Denise: the usher looks EXACTLY LIKE TAYLOR SWIFT??
I mean, someone needs to start a petition for her to recreate this painting in a video or something? A song about the movies? Anything?? Work with us here, Tay Tay!
Until next week, thanks for reading Polyester City. If you have any thoughts, please leave a comment by clicking the link above. If you know anyone who likes Music and Art and Stories [and Hackensack], which is pretty much everyone, please consider sharing by clicking the link below.