Monday, July 9, 2018

Pheaturing Bruce Broughton

Good morning, and welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? This made me laugh... Beyoncé's and Jay-Z's concert in Warsaw last Sunday ended not with a bang, but a whimper. As credits rolled and Her Majesty thanked the audience and crew for their magical evening, Bey got stranded on a floating platform and had to be rescued. As the audience cheered her on, Queen Bey summoned the stage crew and an emergency ladder, which is an embarrassing (but human!) moment. You can hear a fan in a thick Polish accent yell, "You can do it!" She does a little dance to fill the minutes it takes to figure this ladder thing out. As someone obsessed with watching "theater fails" on YouTube (Kelsey Grammer falling off the stage, anyone?), I hereby declare this one a new classic. Here's a screenshot of one of the videos...

Harvey Weinstein was already charged with sexually assaulting two women, but now, indictments come in threes. Prosecutors with the Manhattan district attorney's office announced last Monday that a grand jury has voted to update the indictment to include a forcible sex act on a third women. Why is this indictment different from every other indictment, you ask? As Variety reports, two of the three new charges carry the potential for life in prison. Weinstein is accused in the indictment of forcibly performing oral sex on a woman on July 10th, 2006. Today's filing indicts him on one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree, and two counts of predatory sexual assault, which are class A-II felonies, his most serious charges yet, carrying a potential sentence of 10 years to life. A powerful rich white man just might face consequences for his crimes, for once.
White people being racist at pools has a long and ugly history, and it seems many are dedicated to perpetuating this ugliness. In the latest installment of a racist white person narcing on a black person for living their life, a white man in North Carolina called the police on a black woman and her son for swimming in their community pool. The woman, Jasmine Abhulim (under the moniker Edwards) posted a video of Adam Bloom demanding to see her identification at the Glenridge Community Pool in Winston-Salem. As seen in the video, after she refused to comply with Bloom he called the cops. The cops confirmed that there was no policy in place requiring her to show an ID, and that her keycard for the pool granted her entry. "This is a classic case of racial profiling in my half million dollar neighborhood! This happened to me and my baby today. What a shame!" she captioned the video. The video quickly spread across the Internet, with people nicknaming Bloom #IDAdam while condemning his racial profiling. People soon discovered Bloom worked for the international package supplier Sonoco, and the comments to his employer came pouring in. After receiving all of the negative feedback, Sonoco fired Bloom from his position of five years. The company spokesperson, Brian Risinger, released an apology statement on Facebook. "We are aware of a terrible incident involving the actions of one our employees outside of the workplace. The well-documented incident, which involves activities at a neighborhood pool over the 4th of July, does not reflect the core values of our Company, and the employee involved is no longer employed by the Company in any respect." Following all of the backlash to the video, Bloom also resigned from The Glenridge Homeowners Association as a board member and pool chair (apparently that is a real position in the world). While it's inexcusable and exhausting that white people keep profiling black people in their own neighborhoods, it's good to see these episodes are finally meriting the negative consequences they deserve.
If you're ever feeling bad about your on-line presence, as if you just can't get it right no matter what, then just hop on over to Donald Trump Jr.'s timeline, and you'll see as shining hellfire example of what NOT to post. Seriously though, on any given day, Trump Jr. is stepping in a steaming pile of his own feces with his Instagram presence, and this isn't even about his political position. Whether he's busy sharing bleak hunting pictures, he's posting pensive photos of himself cosplaying a lumberjack, or he's posting weird fanboy art of his dad (paging Freud), it's really all terrible. In fact, speaking of creepy fanboy art of the President, on the 4th of July Trump Jr. posted this deeply disconcerting photo...

Yes, Trump Jr. posted a photo of his dad as Salt Bae. There is a LOT to unpack here, and the comments are just as salty as the meme itself. But wait, THERE'S MORE. The true headliner of Trump Jr.'s one-man 4th of July show is this deeply alarming photo of his dad dolled up in Revolutionary war regalia.

Needless to say, this display has rightfully traumatized the eyes and souls of many who saw it. This concludes the latest installment of "What The Actual Fuck, Donald Trump Jr." I'll be waiting with open ears and an open heart for the next episode.
There's gonna be one less lonely girl! Over the weekend, singer Justin Bieber reportedly got engaged to model Hailey Baldwin. Although the couple have been friends for years and previously dated back in 2016, the two have only been seeing each other for the last two or three months. Bieber and ex Selena Gomez were linked as recently as March. But that doesn't mean that Baldwin and Bieber won't totally work out and be together forever, right? Anyway, fans spotted Justin and Hailey during their vacation in the Bahamas on Sunday, and a few sleuthed some pictures of Baldwin, 21, wearing a colossal diamond ring. No, seriously, this thing is HUGE...

As of right now, neither Justin or Hailey have commented on the engagement, but their respective family members appear to have sent their blessings. Either that, or everyone just happens to be in a really good mood. Hailey's father, Stephen Baldwin, also tweeted (but then deleted!?) a congratulatory message. And yes, technically this means that Justin Bieber will soon be Alec Baldwin's nephew. Weird times, my friends. Weird times. Congrats, Jailey! I said before here on the Phile, I don't care what you say about Bieber... he's a Foghat fan.

You know, instead of doing this blog thing maybe I should be listening to this album...

Ummm... never mind. What does Los Reyes Del Caribe mean anyway? Do you like your neighbors? I don't know mine at all but I'm glad I didn't ever get a note like this from them...

I live in an apartment now anyway. Haha. Some people I have to say if there is a God some people sure have strayed too far from his light...

What the hell? Do you remember Caillou? This is him now...

Feel old yet? Hahaha. Do you have bad luck? I hope it's not as bad as this persons...

Awe... that sucks. You know I like the beach and Star Wars, right? Well, this is Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey, on the beach...

You're welcome, fellas. One of the best things about the Internet is you can easily find porn. But the problem is if you have a blog and someone is reading it and gets bored they might leave he site and go find said porn. So, I had an idea... what about if I showed a porn pic here on the Phile. The problem with that is I'm afraid you'd get in trouble if you were at church or school or work. So, I came with a solution...

You are welcome. If I had a TARDIS I would like to go back and see them film Jaws...

They say I'm gonna see weird shit at Walmart, I never believe it and then I saw this...

Marvel does a great job matching the stunt people with the actors I think. Check it out...

Actually in this case make-up helps. Man, there's still a lot of Royal Wedding souvenirs out there. Like these little felt friends...

Please, no voodoo. Do you know what I laugh at a lot? Old people with inappropriate t-shirts...

Hahahaha. Alright, so, last week I asked you to send in your most bizarre celebrity encounter stories for the Phile's Top Phive List. I have received so many good ones. Thanks all for sending them in. Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Bizarre Phile Readers Celebrity Encounters
5. My freshman roommate from college ran face into a lady's boob while walking though the bust streets of New York. Neither of them were paying attention but the lady apologized, handed my roommate a $50 and walked away. Years later, my roommate and I were watching TV and she recognized that woman as Sarah Jessica Parker.
4. I almost got into a bar fight with the fat kid from The Sandlot.
3. I met Jason Bateman at my work a few weeks ago. (I work at a grocery store in Missouri.) He was getting Starbucks there even though there's a real Starbucks across the street. Nice guy! Had an ugly hat on through.
2. I saw Hulk Hogan on the beach at Ocean City, Maryland. He was wearing a neon green Speedo. I waved. He waved. I wanted his autograph, but my dad wouldn't let me because he said it wasn't Hulk Hogan. It was. I know it was.
And the number one bizarre Phile reader celebrity encounter is...
1. I had Bill Nye burst into my elevator at the airport. "Will this get to the the D gates?!" "Uh, no, this is domestics only." "Okay, thanks!" And out he jumped. To this day I'll never know if Bill Nye the Science Guy made his flight.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Hahaha. Did you see the movie Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom? I did and liked it a lot. A friend of the Phile also saw it and wants to review it here. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man. You know what time it is...

Good morning, humans. Here is Laird’s No Spoiler Movie Review: Jurassic World The Latest Sequel... Volcano’s gonna blow, killing all the poor little dinosaurs. Tree huggers unite to “save those poor animals, who only want to live in harmony with the earth.” Pippi Longstocking and Star Lord get the gang back together for a dino rescue. Bad guys try to ruin everything. Protest signs-a-plenty. Star Lord and Blue reunite to save Pippi... bad guy gets eaten... setups for next sequel are laid out... roll credits. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I give it 8 out of a possible 10.

Hmmm... Now for the pheature where you don't have to be British to laugh at but it will bloody well help.

Hahahahahahahaha. Now for some sad news...

Tab Hunter 
July 11th, 1931 — July 8th, 2018
If you're a closeted gay Hollywood heartthrob, you just can't stick with Arthur Kelm.

The 83rd book to be pheatured on the Phile's Book Club is...

Chris will be the guest on the Phile in a few weeks. Now for some...

Phact 1. Andre Geim won the satirical Ig Nobel Prize in 2000 for his work on using magnetism to levitate a frog. About 10 years later, his experiments with graphene won him the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics. This makes him the only ever recipient of both the Ig Nobel and Nobel Prizes.

Phact 2. Quasar 3c273 is 4 trillion times brighter than the sun, and 100 times brighter than the output of all the stars in the Milky Way. It is 2.5 billion light-years away. It’s so bright, that if it were 33 light years away, it would shine just as bright in the sky as the sun, which is only 8 light minutes away.

Phact 3. Humans are not appropriate prey for great white sharks because the shark’s digestion is too slow to cope with a human’s high ratio of bone to muscle and fat.

Phact 4. The equivalents of the English saying “That’s Greek to me” are “This appears to be Spanish” (German), “This is Russian to me” (Dutch), “It’s German to me” (Philippines), “It’s Hebrew” (Finnish), “It’s Chinese to me” (Hebrew), “Sounds like Mars language/These are chicken intestines” (China).

Phact 5. After 15 inches of rain fell in New Orleans over 18 hours, a cabal of influential bankers decided to set off 30 tons of dynamite to blow a dam upstream and relieve flooding. It turned out that the dam was already broken upstream, and the people who had their property destroyed got nothing.

Today's pheatured guest is an American orchestral composer of television, film, and video game scores and concert works. He has composed several highly acclaimed soundtracks over his extensive career, and he has won nine Emmy Awards and has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score. One of his recent projects was the TV show "The Orville." Please welcome to the Phile... Bruce Broughton.

Me: Bruce, welcome to the Phile, sir. How are you?

Bruce: Wonderful, and it's my pleasure.

Me: I wasn't aware of your work until I read your bio. Wow. You did some amazing film scores. Do you play an instrument?

Bruce: I'm essentially a pianist but I'm also a mediocre horn player. I would write parts that were playable, but not by me.

Me: Currently you are doing the music for Seth MacFarlane's TV show "The Orville." How did you get to be the one to do the music?

Bruce: He calls me out of the blue. The first time he called was a couple of years ago and I knew who he was but we've never met so I really didn't know him. He called me on the weekend, in fact, I think it was Oscar weekend, he said, "Hi, Bruce, this is Seth McFarlane, I'm a big fan of your work, blah blah blah." It turns out actually he has a lot of my albums, but he is a big fan of film. He's very, very knowledgeable. So, anyway, he had an arrangement he wanted me to do for him. He was doing something with John Williams at the Hollywood Bowl with the L.A. Philharmonic, and he wanted me to arrange a song for him. I thought I was kind a goofy choice doing an arrangement because I'm not an arranger but I thought sure, I'd do that, so that turned out alright.

Me: He had albums out as well, didn't you help him with those?

Bruce: He called me a year later and said I do these albums and said, "How would you like to work on an album with me?" I said yeah, I've never done anything like that in my life. Seth could sing, he's a good singer. So, we did that. 

Me: Okay, so, how did you get to do the music for "The Orville?"

Bruce: Well, he called me again and said he's doing a TV show and he's going to be doing some more TV. I said, "Like what?" He told about "The Orville," he said, "It's a sci-fi dramady." He said, "You don't have to do the comedy, I want you to do the drama. You could do it the way you used to do it. Jut write the music, you don't have to do the mock ups, just write the music, come in and record it with an orchestra and that's it." So, I said yeah.

Me: Did you say yes right away did you think about it?

Bruce: I said yes right away, because by that time I had enough experience with him. I had a pretty good idea what I was getting myself into.

Me: What is he like, Bruce? I would love to get him on the Phile, he is so funny and down to earth I imagine.

Bruce: I like him enormously because he's a very nice guy. But he's very smug and also so articulate and he's very, very focused. He's also a very good musician. He talks to me about the music or the drama or whatever, he's talking specifically about this or that. When he wants to give me an example he whips out his phone and into seconds he's playing a cue or a cut of something or other.

Me: Did he know a lot of your old scores? I guess he did.

Bruce: Yes. He knew Lost In Space, and he knew a few other things, and he would refer to them. 

Me: Lost In Space the movie, not the original TV show or the new Netflix one... here's the album cover...

Me: So, I guess you had fun working on "The Orville"?

Bruce: The whole situation was great because he's just really just great to work with. From the beginning to the end it worked out really fine and I hope the show goes for a long time because I hope he does really well at it.

Me: Did he say anything to you about "Star Trek," or the music of "Star Trek"?

Bruce: No. But he did talk about Lost In Space, and he did talk about something else, I can't remember. He knew the album well. What he does he goes into the show and then puts together a temp track. A temp track for anybody that is reading this and don't know what that is it's a temporary music track that comes from anywhere. It's just music that you think either you like it, or it has the right tone, or it has some gesture in it you think it works for the scene. Sort of like a book mark. So, he would put these things in there and I would say 85% what I was looking at or what I was listening to was music from score. We had several conversations the several months before we did this about that the theme would be, what kind of score it would be, and he said the tone for Lost In Space was really good for this project. Now, this was before I've seen one frame of anything, He did reference Lost In Space a lot. As I said earlier he wanted me to write the drama and not the comedy because the comedy was up to him and the actors.

Me: So, how did you go about and write the music for the show?

Bruce: I would look at the scenes what he'd done and then I would pick up the tone what he was doing or what he had used and tried out on my own to see what happens here. Whatever it was seemed to work out well. He was happy and I was happy.

Me: When you sit down and compose the music for a project when does it hit you that this is it, there's something special about this theme?

Bruce: Look, Jason, there's a lot of pressure when I'm doing a theme. Especially for a show that is going to have high visibility.

Me: So, how long did it take to write?

Bruce: The theme that we ended up with is actually my second theme. The first theme I wasn't entirely enthusiastic about it but I thought it was close and it had something at least we could start talking about. I sent that to him and he was very nice and said, "Yeah. Okay, that's fine. But if you want to keep tinkering that's okay." Hahaha. Which meant to me no, this isn't it. I don't know what I did with that theme but obviously it wasn't as good as the one that I came up with. After I did the theme that became "The Orville" theme I just did what is definitely a usable theme. It had to me the qualities we've been talking about for awhile. Again, this is before I've seen the show. I read the script but I haven't seen the show and I just did it from story outlines and whatever the script is. He was really enthusiastic. I did a mock-up piano version although it didn't have any big orchestral gestures, it was basically the melody and the chords. He's good at listening to that, he understands how that is. He liked it right away and over the next several weeks I would get calls from him or notes like "Yes, this is going down really well. People really like this theme." Then he called me one day and said, "Okay, now we need a version we could use because we have the main title coming together. We need the theme because we need to cut to it. We need to know what it is because the visual images are going to be playing against." So in that case I did a synth mock up of it then when we got to the orchestra I did the orchestral version of it. That's basically how the theme came about.

Me: I haven't seen the show yet but is the theme just at the beginning of the show?

Bruce: In the first episode we used the theme all over the place. As soon as you see the Orville the theme happens. It's used throughout the show so there's no thinking what the theme is going to be for the rest of the series.

Me: Didn't you do the score the first episode as well, sir?

Bruce: Yeah. My contribution to it is to do the main title, do all the thematic stuff, do the opening pilot.

Me: Okay, enough about "The Orville." I wanna talk about some of your other scores. You are known for Silverado. Do you recall the recording session for that film?

Bruce: I recall it really well. It was my first big movie and through the entire week, we recorded for about 5 days, I can't remember exactly, there was so much energy in the room. People kept showing up, I kept having visitors. What it was the word was going around town "Listen to this score, this is really good." When it was all over, this is patting myself on the back, but the orchestral gave me a standing ovation. Everybody was so excited by it. It was that way on "The Orville." When we finished that the orchestra was so happy to be able to play a piece that they all could all sit in the same room and play at the same time. It was all acoustical and they applauded for three or four minutes. It was really exciting.

Me: That's great. What the feeling when you had when you heard that piece for the very first time with the orchestra?

Bruce: With Silverado it was done before we had mock-ups, so everything that anybody had heard like myself and the director had been on the piano which sounds nothing at all what the orchestra sounds like. There was a lot of energy in it because it was an energetic film and all that, but it was also a lot of energy in it because I was just scared to death... I didn't want to screw it up. This is a good film, I hope I don't mess it up. Haha.

Me: Haha. So, that was a great experience?

Bruce: Yeah, the people were wonderful and yes, it lasted for years and years and years.

Me: I didn't know you also did the score for Miracle on 34th Street, one of my favorite Christmas movies. Anyway, when do a score and see a film, do you ever think this is terrible, now I have to really work hard to bring the film up?

Bruce: I always hope for the best. The truth is I really don't know, I could be working on something that is junk and the next thing I know it's massively famous. The reality of the whole thing is that the reason the music is in there in the first place is not because anyone wants to hear my tunes, it's there because they want me to help tell a story. If the story is a little weak in a certain area, or of the story is just not even and needs a little bit of help, that's what I'm there for. When I get a film that really needs a lot of help... great... the music is going to do a lot for it. Sometimes I get into the film and the film doesn't really need me very much, the film is good and the way it's put together, it just does not call for a huge score. Some of the films need love and care, and it isn't a matter of this film is going to make a million bucks at the box office, am I going to be rich and famous, it's can I make this film with to b the way its supposed to be. Kind of get back to what the director's intent was, and the writers intent was. Very often I'll see a scene that works just fine but there's something missing. The only thing that s actually missing is what the music can provide. Background, emotional, association, that's sort of back there. It's telling the audience something that's happening. It's a really interesting process. I think if you went through the history of film music you'll probably hear a lot of really terrific scores. Some of the best scores are probably for the worst movies. The good movies don't need me. Movies that are a little weak, just in the cracks, the ones who are failing, they are the ones that need me.

Me: Hahaha. I'm sure you have met people that think the same, they are making a movie and think the score is definitely gonna help. Am I right?

Bruce: I had producers say it's an amazing thing to stand on the scoring stage and see how the movies finally works because all the editing they do can only do so much. If the frame is showing so much you can only move the picture so far. The music comes in and that cut they were so concerned about becomes just beautifully invisible and just moves effortlessly into the next scene. That's what the score does. It's amazing to see the film without the music and then see it with the music. It's two entity pieces entirely. One big thing is a film without music is a lot longer. It's a lot more boring.

Me: Ha. That's true. So, what is your honest opinion on music today in movies and TV?

Bruce: I know a guy in England who used to write a movie music magazine and about 8 years ago he wrote me and said he's not writing the magazine anymore. He just didn't find the scores to be that interesting. I think personally, and I'm saying this as an old guy, the cores from the 70s and 80s wherefore the most part far more inventive, far more original and far more exciting than the scores I hear a lot. Having said there there are some scores that come out that are really pretty cool. Like a couple of years ago I was watching How To Train Your Dragon. That's a terrific movie, but my gosh, that's a great score. There's some people like John Williams and other people who write really great scores. I think the biggest problem is that they use the temp track, the temp track comes in, they borrow the music from another film and they paste it in because they can't wait for the composer to get there and they really get used to it and the composer feels obligated to do something like that. Or he's asked to do something like that. I went to a film once, a friend told me I should go see, and realized they had tracked the entire film with a score of mine. I could tell from cue to cue what the original score was. The composer was a good composer, we are on good terms, I don't get that he did this, he had the skill to be able to do it well and he ended up doing a good score but it wasn't an original score. Its just a version what I had done. I think if I'm up against that it's kind of hard to be original. A lot of films these days don't want to much originality because there's too much money at stake. if I'm to original I don't know what it's going to do to the film, Music has a huge effect on film. If I'm being really original and going off on some tangent I'm taking a big risk and a lot of directors and studios don't care to have that much of a risk.

Me: Wow. That is crazy. Bruce, thanks so much for being here on the Phile, it was such an honor. Please come back soon. I hope this as fun.

Bruce: Well, thank you, Jason.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim and of course Bruce Broughton. I have so many questions for him. Anyway, the Phile will be back next Sunday with Tal Bergman the drummer from Rock Candy Funk Party. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

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