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Mark Ellinger
Avid imbiber of knowledge. Impenitent misfit. Displaced composer turned writer and urban documentarian. Animal lover. Frayed Romantic, heart and soul.
Avid imbiber of knowledge. Impenitent misfit. Displaced composer turned writer and urban documentarian. Animal lover. Frayed Romantic, heart and soul.
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Second up in my transcribed Thundercrack! score series is Toydy's tune, the Humpty Rag. 

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I'm currently in the process of transcribing the score to Thundercrack! into sheet music form from a Xerox of my original notation, using MuseScore, and publishing the results online. If you're a pianist, now you can play the music from Thundercrack! yourself First up is the Electric Dildo Waltz. Have fun!

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Excerpts from the score to Thundercrack! now on SoundCloud.
https://soundcloud.com/tobymarx/sets/excerpts-from-the-score-to

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Just uploaded to SoundCloud a suite for piano I wrote in '84, "Fragments from the World of Henri LeCroix." https://soundcloud.com/tobymarx/sets/fragments-from-the-world-of

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Rock on, Mr. Waits. Rock on forever.

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America's men, alas, have not "met the test." They're still war-mongering, bloody-minded, sexist, bigoted assholes with an unhealthy fascination with new toys.

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Composer Bernard Hermann and stop-motion artist Ray Harryhausen are an unbeatable combination. Loved this movie when it was first released. Fifty-four years later, I appreciate it even more. While the screenplay takes vast liberties with Jules Verne's original story, going so far as to add a couple of women to the plot (indeed, Verne's tale is stripped down to a bare framework on which the action-oriented screenplay is constructed), a fine cast of actors and producer Charles Schneer's roster of production talent, topped by Harryhausen and Hermann, turn said screenplay into cinematic gold. The matte paintings and miniatures for this movie are especially luscious. The various forms of gigantic fauna may not be as memorable as the monstrosities Harryhausen created for "Jason and the Argonauts" or "Seventh Voyage of Sinbad," but their rendering and stop-motion animation are no less inspired by his genius. Regarding the giant crab, the reason it looks boiled is that it was. In an interview for "Star Log" back in '75 or '76, Harryhausen revealed that several real crabs were used for stop-motion sequences. Cooked and cleaned, their shells were reassembled over armatures for animating them, thus saving many hours of production time. Part of Ray's genius was knowing when and how to simplify. (He also said the crabs were delicious.)

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So much to love about this movie, from screenplay to art direction to players, featuring Charles Laughton and Randolph Scott, supported by John Carradine, Gilbert Roland and Reginald Owen.  Laughton portrays Captain Kidd's pathological complexities with swagger and aplomb. His cunning, audacity and cold-blooded treachery make him a truly memorable villain. If you're going to romanticize history,  this movie shows how to do it properly.

Death surrounds me. With the passing of two friends in just three days, I am keenly aware of life's fragility and how perilously close to the edge I myself am treading. I may well spend this week's grocery money at the Brown Jug Saloon today, or maybe not. Can't say I'm in the mood for anything right now except maybe crying, but I seem to be cried-out.

And now I learn another old friend, Chris Fisher, has also died.
Requiescant in Pace, Chris. You fought the good fight to the very end.
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