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JULY 2007




AUGUST 22, 2007

So You Think You Can Dance III

Notablog readers know that I'm a fan of two Fox-produced talent shows: "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance."

With my relatively new DVR... yes, I have finally graduated from the Video Tape Generation... I am a bit behind in all my viewing. But I finally did see the finale of the third season of "So You Think You Can Dance," and offer my congratulations to Sabra. I really thought Danny was going to take the prize, but Sabra became the first woman to win the competition.

I was elated that the last show highlighted my favorite choreographed piece of the season: Lacey and Neil doing the Mia Michaels' choreographed routine to Billy Porter's "Time." It blew me away, again. Michaels is actually nominated for an Emmy for what was one of my favorite routines from Season II: "Calling You."

I hope to see "Time" performed when the tour comes to the New York metropolitan area.

Anyway, it was a great season... the best yet in terms of the level of talent. Can't wait to see Season IV.

Posted by chris at 09:02 AM | Permalink | Posted to Film / TV / Theater Review

AUGUST 20, 2007

New York Movies and "The Fugitive"

I'm so behind in my reading of the New York Daily News that I just discovered that Elizabeth Weitzman referred to me in a recent column of hers, which continues a series of enlightening articles she's been writing on people's "favorite, [New York-] city-centric films." I've really enjoyed her series. Readers can check out that series of articles hereherehereherehere, and here.

As for my all-time favorite films, which have used New York City as a backdrop, here's a brief list (in no particular order):

"King Kong" (the classic 1933 and also Peter Jackson's remake)
"North By Northwest" (a Cary Grant-Alfred Hitchcock tour de force)
"Angels with Dirty Faces" (James Cagney at his best)
"The Godfather" (I and II) (the greatest Mafia Movie Masterpieces of all time, in my view)
"Dog Day Afternoon" (dramatizing a bank robbery that took place in my neighborhood)
"Pride of the Yankees" (probably my favorite baseball movie of all time, about the great Lou Gehrig)
"West Side Story" (one of my favorite Movie Musicals of all time)
"Funny Girl" (another favorite musical, which takes us from vaudeville to the Ziegfeld Follies)
"An Affair to Remember" (Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr in a romance atop the Empire State Building)
"Rear Window" (claustrophobic Jimmy Stewart-Hitchcock classic)
"Miracle on 34th Street" (among my favorite Christmas films of all time)
"Malcolm X" (from Harlem to Mecca, a sprawling epic)
"Independence Day" (great sci-fi special effects)
"The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms" (great monster movie)
"Saturday Night Fever" (Travolta struttin' his stuff in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn)

Last week, Weitzman asked readers to send in their favorite New York-centric comedies, and I sent her a note that included the following list:

o "Barefoot in the Park"... hilarious ... and NY'ers recognize the reality of small apartments and long walk-ups.

o Two absolutely classic Cary Grant vehicles: "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" and "Arsenic and Old Lace" ... the first, a perennial favorite contrasting the confines of that small apartment (again) and the confines of a different sort posed by an ever-growing nightmare in the suburbs! And the second: Well, Hallowe'en in Brooklyn, NY is just dark comedy at its best!

o Finally, "Pocketful of Miracles" and "Arthur" ... both featuring classic performances, great cast, and hilarious---and poignant---moments.

I'm sure you'll hear from those who like other ticklers, like "Ghostbusters" ... but wanted to make sure some of the above were mentioned too!

I discovered that Weitzman mentioned my note to her in her column on Friday, August 17, 2007. She writes:

"I'm sure you'll hear from those who like 'Ghostbusters,'" offers Chris Sciabarra, before putting in a word for "Barefoot in the Park."

Notablog readers who have other favorite New York-centric films... I'd love to hear from you.

Finally, as an aside, I should mention that in another column, Weitzman reports on "the most exciting news," which I've known about for a while, thanks to a good friend: David Janssen's immortal television role as Dr. Richard Kimble is finally brought to DVD with the release of Volume One, Season One of "The Fugitive." I've received the set as a gift and can't wait to see the newly restored existential drama. It is among my very favorite series of all time. I urge readers who have not seen this classic television show to see it!

Posted by chris at 07:11 AM | Permalink | Comments (5) | Posted to Film / TV / Theater Review


I happen to like Edward Norton's romantic comedy ~Keeping the Faith~ -- beautiful NYC imagery, and great performances by Norton, Ben Stiller, & Jenna Elfman.

~When Harry Met Sally~ is another romantic comedy I'd name in the NYC-centric category; I find it a realistic and charming look at the evolution of a relationship.

~Comedian~, a documentary about Jerry's Seinfeld's journey to Broadway after the end of his sitcom, is a wonderfully artful and insightful film about the joys and challenges of working as a stand-up comic. It takes place largely in New York and the New York feeling is in there strong.

Finally, Penny Marshall's ~Awakenings~ has always been a favorite of mine. It takes place in the Bronx, mainly in the late 60s, with a bit in the beginning from the 30s (I think), and gives a strong flavor of New York at that time. Robert DeNiro and Robin Williams are fabulous, and there's also a nice performance from Julie Kavner. Plus, the film features Dexter Gordon in a small role as a jazz-piano-playing patient, and a beautiful score by Randy Newman. Can't beat that with a stick!

Posted by: Andrew Schwartz | August 21, 2007 12:18 AM

I'm not as well informed about film as I would like to be, and I don't think I can usefully add to your list. But I wanted to remark that I have quite liked the television series "Sex and the City"; it has a continuing theme that links the episodes together�urbanity as a system of values in general, and its application to sexual conduct in particular�and it does a good job of maintaining that theme in particular episodes. The characterization is excellent, too: we have four women characters, all much of an age, and all intended as sympathetic figures, but no two of them could be confused with each other, or omitted from the series without diminishing it.

Posted by: William H. Stoddard | August 22, 2007 01:43 AM

Well, you list a lot of good films, but also omit some greats: Annie Hall, Manhattan, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas -- hmm, I'm focusing on Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese here, but I'm sure there are some I'm forgetting.

And HOORAY for the long-overdue DVD release of The Fugitive!

Posted by: Aeon J. Skoble | August 23, 2007 11:12 PM

It is worth remembering that the young Ayn Rand in the USSR would sit through two showings of a movie to see the New York skyline. Weren't most of Woody Allen films set in NYC. Hitchcock set Saboteur to end at the Statue of Liberty.

Posted by: Chris Grieb | August 28, 2007 01:23 PM

Hey, folks, thanks so much for all the fine, fine comments on this thread.

I've not seen "Keeping the Faith," "Awakenings," or "Comedian" but sure did enjoy "When Harry Met Sally." Agreed on "Sex and the City": I've often thought the City was the Star of that show!

Aeon, classic films you've listed! And good points, Chris, and great also to note Allen and Hitchcock's "Saboteur" (classic).

Weitzman's series continues in the DAILY NEWS... so visit the site as often as you can!

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | October 1, 2007 05:20 PM


AUGUST 14, 2007

EBSCO and a New Journal of Ayn Rand Studies

I'm delighted to announce that The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies Foundation has entered into an electronic licensing relationship with EBSCO Publishing, the world's most prolific aggregator of full-text journals, magazines, and other sources. Starting with our next issue, in addition to our regular print version, the full text of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies will be found on EBSCO Publishing's databases. And, in time, we look forward to seeing all of the articles from our past issues available in this format as well.

In the meanwhile, a crazy Spring and an even crazier Summer (did somebody say a Tornado in BROOKLYN!!!???) could not prevent the publication of the new issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies.

New Spring 2007 JARS

Volume 8, Number 2 features the following essays and contributors:

God and Objectivism: A Critique of Objectivist Philosophy of Religion - Stephen E. Parrish

Objectivist Atheology - Patrick Toner

Merely Metaphorical? Ayn Rand, Isabel Paterson, and the Language of Theory - Stephen Cox

Isabel Paterson and the Idea of America - David T. Beito

Recent Writings on Ethics - Fred Seddon

Unilateral Transfers and a Reinterpretation of Objectivist Ethics - Eren Ozgen

Reply to Tibor R. Machan, "Rand and Choice" (Spring 2006), Eric Mack, "More Problematic Arguments in Randian Ethics" (Spring 2006), and Douglas B. Rasmussen, "Regarding Choice and the Foundation of Morality: Reflections on Rand's Ethics" (Spring 2006):
Objectivity and the Proof of Egoism - Robert Hartford

Rejoinder to Robert Hartford:
A Brief Comment on Hartford - Tibor R. Machan

Rejoinder to Robert Hartford:
Rand's Metaethics - Douglas B. Rasmussen

Reply to David Graham and Nathan Nobis, "Putting Humans First?" (Fall 2006):
Putting Humans First? YES! - John Altick

Rejoinder to John Altick:
Animals and Rights - David Graham and Nathan Nobis

Check out the abstracts for the above articles here and the contributor biographies here.

Cross-posted to L&P.

Posted by chris at 08:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | Posted to Periodicals Rand Studies




JARS keeps getting better. I'm looking forward to this issue.

Posted by: Neil Parille | August 15, 2007 05:51 PM

Great news & congratulations, Chris!

Posted by: Sunni | August 19, 2007 10:25 PM

Hey, Neil and Sunni, thanks for the good wishes! I'm now working on the Fall 2007 issue... which will be the first available through EBSCO.

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | October 1, 2007 05:12 PM


Merv and The Scooter

Over the past two days, two of the most memorable personalities of my youth passed away. Yesterday, I found out about the passing of Merv Griffin, who is known best today as the producer of long-running game shows, such as Wheel of Fortune and, my favorite, Jeopardy. But my fondest memory of the affable Griffin is as the syndicated television talk show host who always gave us great entertainment, like that night back in the late 1970s when Sarah Vaughan and Mel Torme scatted their way through "Lady Be Good" and other jazz standards.

This afternoon, I heard about the loss of the great Hall of Fame Yankee shortstopPhil Rizzuto. I wasn't around when Rizzuto played shortstop for the Yankees, but his voice was a staple on radio and television for those of us who followed the Yankees from the 1960s through the 1990s. Nothing was more hilarious than listening to his color commentary during a game. His classic stories, his shout-out "happy birthday" wishes to various fans, his love of the cannoli provided us with a diet of gut-busting riotous moments on any given summer night (check out the book, O Holy Cow! The Selected Verse of Phil Rizzuto, for some of Rizzuto's 'poetry').

I'll miss Merv and the Scooter. Rest in peace.

Posted by chris at 07:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | Posted to Film / TV / Theater Review Remembrance Sports



RIP Scooter! He was the best. Like you, I'm too young to have seen him play in person, but he was the broadcaster I grew up with, and his legacy is huge. People don't realize how influential he was in, e.g., bunting styles.

Posted by: Aeon J. Skoble | August 24, 2007 02:40 PM

Agreed, Aeon; and if there is a heaven above... rest assured, he's root, root, rooting for the home team now! :)

Go Yanks!

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | October 1, 2007 05:14 PM


AUGUST 03, 2007

Song of the Day #818

Song of the DayCherish features the words and music of Terry Kirkman, a founding member of The Association, which scored a Number 1 hit with this song in 1966. Listen to audio clips of renditions by The Association and Nancy Ames.

Posted by chris at 07:52 PM | Permalink | Posted to Music