Front yard art

This sparks joy (as seen on one of the Toronto Islands):

toronto island

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memories of the ’80s – A Chorus Line

ChorusLineMovie.jpgDebuting in the 1970s as a stage production, the next decade brought the story of Broadway dancers to the big screen in A Chorus Line.

With a screenplay by Arnold Schulman, which was based on the play and a book written about the stage production by James Kirkwood Jr. and Nicholas Dante, the film was directed by Richard Attenborough.

Initially Michael Bennett, who was the stage production’s director was considered for the project, but he declined to work with Universal Studios as Bennett wanted the film to be the same as the play.

Many directors turned down the offer to direct the film for Universal Studios, before Attenborough said yes, and Embassy Pictures became the co-producer, with Polygram Records on board to release the film soundtrack.

The film starred Michael Douglas as Zach the director/choreographer and Terrence Mann as the assistant choreographer, with a bevy of dancers playing the chorus who are hoping to get chosen for the production.

But the film differed from the play, with several songs from the stage production not included, and two new songs were added. The storyline of gay actors was also deleted from the film and the focus was on young dancers trying to get a role as opposed to veteran dancers faced with their last change to become stars on Broadway.

Released in December 1985, Attenborough’s interpretation of A Chorus Line to the big screen was met with mixed reviews, some critics kinder than others in their comments about the film.

Viewers were not impressed, with the box office barely making US$14 million. The film budget was US$25 million.

The film was nominated for three Oscars – for Best Original Song, Best Film Editing and Best Sound and won two Golden Globes – Best Motion Picture for Musical or Comedy and Best Director, but it never captured the hearts of moviegoers the same as the stage production.

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We don’t take naps:


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memories of the ’70s – A Chorus Line

ChorusLine.jpgIn the middle of the 1970s, a play took the oldest story of Broadway and made it the show: A Chorus Line.

With music by Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by Edward Kleban, the musical focused on the 17 dancers chosen for a new Broadway show.

Each character is competing for eight spots in the production, revealing themselves and their past as they try to show their dance skills.

Zach is the director with his assistant Larry and the dancers are a mix of men and women vying to get chosen. The backdrop of the musical is a bare stage, with the focus on the dancers.

For several months, the musical was tested in front of audiences, changing from an ending where the final cuts are revealed to a storyline that follows those that the viewer know will and won’t succeed.

Debuting off-Broadway at New York City’s Public Theatre in April 1975, the production borrowed US$1.6 million to make it work, and the advance buzz surrounding the musical worked – the run was sold-out in advance.

Producer Joseph Papp moved the musical to Broadway to the Shubert Theatre in July 1975, where it stayed in production in New York City until April 1990.

The original cast included Robert LuPone, Priscilla Lopez, Donna McKechnie and Sammy Williams, all nominated for Tony Awards. Williams and McKechnie both won Tonys, while the musical won the Tony Award for Best Musical, Best Choreography, Best Book of a Musical and Best Score, as well as winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1976.

One of the classic musicals of Broadway, the musical travelled, performed in London’s West End, as well as Sweden, Argentina, Australia by the end of the decade.


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Lovebot The Joker

As seen on Toronto’s Parliament Street:


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Cher (ing) is caring

Awesome sign from Jimmy’s Coffee in Toronto’s Kensington Market:


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memories of the ’80s – Unsolved Mysteries

Image result for unsolved mysteries tv series 1987In the late 1980s, a television show aimed to use the audience to learn more about some of the odd stories of our world on Unsolved Mysteries.

The reality tv show was created by John Cosgrove and Terry Dunn Meurer, who aimed to illuminate cold cases and paranormal phenomena that had occurred.

The series started as a series of specials, with renactments focusing on murdered and/or missing people. The specials were hosted by Raymond Burr, Karl Malden and Robert Stack and aired on NBC starting in January 1987.

Thanks to the success of the seven specials aired throughout 1987, in 1988 the producers launched a weekly television series on NBC, with host Robert Stack discussing the cases before the renactment showed what had happened with a mix of video, photography and interviews.

Each show would air four segments, usually a missing person, a murder, paranormal activity and unexplained or alternative history.

Continuing into the next decade, the show’s ratings started strong but were less over time thanks to the increase in the paranormal stories and the focus on alternative history and controversial theories about history.

The show switched from NBC to CBS for its last season, and has gone on to be on several other networks in the current century.

Not endorsed or part of NBC News, this reality television show’s style inspired many 21st century news magazine shows on how to show and tell the story of the murdered, missing and paranormal.

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