Saturday, July 05, 2008

TV Fireworks

Washington D.C.
PBS. Staid. Nobody likes Washington much right now, we're all waiting for the new guy. Jimmy Smits. Jerry Lee's band carried him through "Great Balls of Fire." The "Killer" looks like a corpse propped upright up at his own wake. 1812 Overture with cannon. Marine Drum & Bugle Corps plus xylophones stiffly playing marches as fireworks exploded over Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial in the frame. Calendar pictures. Audio wasn't very good. Get those jarheads some Sousaphones or bring in the Army's marching musicians from Fort Myer. Play John Philip Sousa properly & you can do the polka to the "Stars & Stripes Forever."

New York City
Like the parade, a Macy's advertisement. Like New Year's Eve in Times Square, this gets slicker & dumber every year. Can those crowd reaction shots with the children & the rich blonde matrons with the V.I.P seats. Stop putting "Stuyvesant Town" as the location, it's the freakin' East River. Unless there's a color in a song title, the music has nothing to do with the fireworks except for the amount of time that segment takes. Everything has a "theme." The TV viewer might as well turn off the sound & play Dark Side of the Moon, they'll probably fit together just as well if not better. Since I didn't have Pink Floyd handy, I turned this show off after awhile & watched a Team USA softball game on ESPN.

For good reason, these folks believe they own the 4th of July & it shows. Best orchestra for the occasion, the Boston Pops, which swings when it wants to. Best host, newly sworn citizen Craig Ferguson you'd never guess has been on the wagon for years. Patriotic singalong including "Yankee Doodle" & everyone sangalong. Best props; the decorated portable bandshell, handpainted signs, flags, Uncle Sam hats the vendors were probably selling. The crowd (maybe some in the Pops, too) happily but not recklessly unsober, like they've been nipping from flasks for hours. Children on daddies' shoulders don't look befuddled or scared. The fireworks a glorious mishmash over the Charles with a middlebrow prerecorded soundtrack that had a couple of unexpected turns, not stopping to announce each new song. This year it climaxed with the ending of Mahler's 1st Symphony, pretty cool.

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We watched Rahway's fireworks display under umbrellas on my parents' front lawn. This followed an hour of Olympic Trials swimming action on TV. It was wonderful and patriotic all at once.
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