Good morning. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here to introduce Chapter twenty-nine of Alanna the Piranha. A few more weeks and I will be done with this story and on to a new one.
I must say I have a bone to pick with the Academy Awards. I was accepting of most of the winners except for one. One which was so abysmal its shamefulness stood head and shoulders below all the others. And that is the winner for Best Original Song. Apparently, the Academy has a new unwritten rule that if your song is nominated you must show up to the awards show and perform it yourself or it won’t be performed at all. Is that not the stupidest rule ever! One of the best moments in recent years was when Robin Williams and company performed Blame Cannada from South Park Bigger, Longer and Uncut. Van Morrison was on tour. His tour dates were obviously set before he was nominated. It was completely understandable why he couldn’t be there because like most responsible people the man works for a living.
How big a travesty would it have been if say Bruce Springsteen could have performed “Down to Joy “by Van Morrison for him? Or maybe Neil Young? Or possibly Mick Jagger? How awful would it have been if one of those juggernauts could have, I don’t know, stood up in front of millions of people and performed a brand-new song by Van Morrison. And not just a song by Van Morrison but clearly the song that should have won the Oscar! No one seemed to quibble when The Doors performed Gloria. Why is the Academy quibbling now?
Why in the world would any Oscar voter ever vote for “No Time to Die” by Billy Eilish and Phineas? Why would you do something that utterly odd? That song is unbearably pedestrian. Do these voters not lose sleep over what they’ve done? I certainly have!
Please understand I am not of the belief that Ms. Eilish and her brother couldn’t eventually write a song that would be Oscar worthy, and quite frankly they should aspire to do so. Lady Gaga, Eminem and Adelle are all artists who have written Oscar worthy winning songs at a young age. Prince went a step further and won an Oscar for Best Original Song Score for the astoundingly brilliant Purple Rain at the tender age of twenty-six. Ms. Eilish and her brother are quite young and have a long career ahead of themselves. She is certainly a beautiful young woman with an exquisite voice. It’s just that this song just wasn’t up to snuff.
Anyway, here is Chapter twenty-nine of Alanna the Piranha. Enjoy!
Alanna the Piranha
Gigi the parti poodle
It’s three o’clock in the afternoon. Alanna and Fabulous practice their routine for me and when they finish, I applaud.
“There’s one thing that concerns me,” I tell them.
“What’s that?” Fabulous asks.
“Where is this going? I mean I get the initial surprise you guys have had singing and dancing, but I don’t see where you can go from there.”
“Haven’t you seen that guy who does the singing president routine?”
“Well, he doesn’t sing the same songs every time. He comes up with different ones and together it’s a full act.”
“Maybe. I mean I’ve only seen the guy perform a couple of songs not his whole show. But I would bet there’s some sort of, I don’t know, transition between the songs.”
“But we don’t need to worry about that right now,” Alanna says. “We just need a collection of different song and dance routines we do that we can perform to help warm up the main act.”
“Yes, but if you want to push this act forwards and become the feature performers you need to start building a whole show with an arc not just snippets.”
“Flint has a point,” Fabulous says. “We could make a lot more money if we had a feature act.”
“Oh, I like more money,” Alanna said. “Speaking of which I need to go to Stacy’s room and borrow more clothes. I need a new outfit for tonight.”
“Your outfit was good enough last night,” I tell her. “You don’t need a new one.”
“But it takes time to pick out all the pieces that go together to make it work.”
“Not today, Alanna.”
She puts her hand on her hip. “What about tomorrow?”
My phone rings and I look at the number. It’s The Zipper. Alanna and Fabulous gather around me and I put him on speaker phone.
“Kid, kid,” he tells me. “I gotta tell ya, I gotta tell ya. That was quite a show last night, quite a show.”
“I’ve got some good news for you and Gams, kid.”
“Since you’ve gotten two standing ovations in a row, I thought I’d tell you I got a booking for all my inhouse acts over at the university. We’re going to do a big show, a big show. You ever hear of Parent’s Weekend, kid?”
The temperature under my collar just shot up to 103 degrees. “Mr. Zipper…”
“It’s a big deal, kid. A big deal. Back in my day Jerry Seinfeld did a performance for Parent’s Weekend right before his big show came out and he hit big. You wanna hit big, kid?”
“Look, I thought my…the act was supposed to be about opening for your main attractions at the club.”
“It is, kid. It is. But you’ve gotta think big. You hear what I’m saying? You gotta think big. Big means taking the tiger by the tail. You gotta grab that tiger by the tail and give her a swing.”
“The act is designed for a small stage.”
“Nonsense, kid. I want to see your girl and that raspy voiced bunny on the big stage. And make sure you get a knockout costume for Gams. I want her up there looking like a million bucks.”
Alanna hears this comment and starts bouncing up and down and clapping her hands. I roll my eyes. “Can I think about this?” I tell The Zipper.
“Kid, you don’t have time to think about this. It’s now or never because the show is in two days.”
“I know you can pull it off, kid. I know you can pull it off. I’ll email you the details. Ciao!”
The Zipper hangs up. I’m doomed.
You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!, Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!, Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!, Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!
STREAM OF THE WEEK: DRIVE MY CAR (2021)-HBO Max
Winner of the BAFTA for International Feature Film and the Oscar for International Feature Film this is a smart sumptuous meditation on life, love, and loss. I must warn you that not only is this film is for mature audiences only, it’s also a master class level film. What I mean by that is it’s primarily for cinephiles who enjoy movies on a deeper level and don’t mind being engrossed in a languid three-hour story. And for cinephiles this is a must see.
World class professional theatre actor and director Yūsuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima) is married to talented screenwriter Oto (Reika Kirishima). Oto’s muse is sex, or in other words she writes her stories while having sex. But there is a deeper side to Oto’s method which involves a past incident between her and her husband Yūsuke. Yūsuke’s acting method, on the other hand, is to drive around in his red 1987 Saab 900 Turbo delivering his character’s lines while playing a recording of Oto reading the lines opposite his currently is Chekov’s Uncle Vanya. While playing the part of Uncle Vanya Yūsuke has a mental breakdown. After two years pass Yūsuke is invited to Hiroshima to ironically direct Chekov’s Uncle Vanya with an unconventional cast. While he is there, he is told by the theatre company that because of past accidents involving their talent, Yūsuke is required to have a chauffeur drive his car for him.
He is assigned a young woman named Misaki Watari (Tōko Miura) whose troubled past has parallels to his own. As Yūsuke is casting the play he comes across a famous and talented young actor named Kōji (Masaki Okada) who Yūsuke knows once had an affair with Oto.