Le Ballon Rouge by The Musical Millennial, for Your Listening Pleasure

Song Cover for Le Ballon Rouge by Thomas Wenglinski

The Musical Millennial has written, recorded and released a new single, a tune that was inspired by the 1956 film, Le Ballon Rouge, or The Red Balloon. The film was written, directed and produced by French cinematographer Albert Lamorisse.

It All Started in About 2002, Thanks to Aunt Julie

While the Musical Millennial is now a junior in college studying jazz composition at The University of Texas, we watched the film together when he was a small child, and he was transfixed. Which means, of course, we watched it many times. (If you’ve ever had a small child, you understand.) Luckily, this 35-minute film is worth watching multiple times, so I renew my thanks to his Aunt Julie for sending it as a Christmas gift.

Song Cover for Le Ballon Rouge by Thomas Wenglinski
Song cover art for Le Ballon Rouge

Le Ballon Rouge has the Approval of Mom the Critic – I Love It

I really love this tune! Big surprise, I know: he’s my kid, of course I do. I like everything he does (mostly; I was actually too honest when he was tiny and “wrote” tunes by assembling pre-recorded tracks from Garage Band that I didn’t care for…there may have been tears). Le Ballon Rouge is avant-garde and thoughtful, and it may be the first song he’s ever created with lyrics. It’s definitely the first time I’ve heard him sing since choir in 4th grade. (I couldn’t really hear him then, actually. He was ‘in the chorus’. You know what that means.)

Announcing Le Ballon Rouge

Here’s what the Musical Millennial said on Instragram to announce the release of Le Ballon Rouge:

happy new year everybody!! we made it to 2019!!
my new single “le ballon rouge” is now available everywhere online!!
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this single was inspired by 1) the need to get over a ripping stress headache i was battling at the time the original groove/theme came into my head and 2) my recent rediscovery of albert lamorisse’s 1956 film of the same name. i’m honored to share it with you, and i hope you enjoy it as much as i enjoyed recording it!!
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(again, special thanks to @_justinebel for the seriously killing cover art!!)
#newmusic2019 #pickupjazz

From the Musical Millennial’s Instagram (thomascwenglinski

The Lyrics

Aunt Julie, the giver of Le Ballon Rouge, is the poet Julie Wenglinski; it is so fitting that her gift inspired the Musical Millennial to write a song with lyrics 15+ years later. I think it reads like a poem, and you can hear the childhood memories combined with the contemporaneous experience (the headache) he described in Instagram in the lyrics (below).

I’ve got my own 
One red balloon
Thanks Lamorisse
You gave me peace
I was so lost
Broken and crossed (but now)
I’ve got my own
One red balloon

I’ve got my own
One red balloon
Far in the past 
Memories amassed
It’s mine to stay
If just today
I’ve got my own
One red balloon

Listen to Le Ballon Rouge Now

How can you hear it Le Ballon Rouge? (You want to, I know you do.)

Stream on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/0xapOUO2B2nfhkDxAptXlY?nd=1
Buy on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/le-ballon-rouge-single/1448048942
Stream on Amazon Music:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MKSCSST
Stream on Apple Music: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/le-ballon-rouge-single/1448048942?uo=4&app=apple+music
Buy/Stream on Google Play:https://play.google.com/store/music/album/Thomas_Wenglinski_Le_Ballon_Rouge?id=B3bqifemo4wyf3xnmzul5nk2uiy

The Movie that Inspired It

And what about the film? Like my son, the New York Times still loves this children’s film that won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay; check out this review from YouTube. Warning: it will make you want to watch! Amazon has it here.


© 2019 Glover Gardens

I Got You, Babe! (Fabulous)

Having this forum to share thoughts, ideas, cool stuff and things that inspire me is such a blessing. Today’s post would be in the inspiration category.

“Fabulous!”

28782704_787468414785410_660979165395000419_nI have a colleague/friend whose favorite word is fabulous, and whose unstintingly positive outlook is, well, fabulous. She will have her third child very soon, about which she says, “Fabulous!” She shared her family photo shoot on Facebook and I had to ask if I could post them here, because they are…(you can see it coming)…fabulous.

The Photos

The joy each member of this family finds in the others is evident. I couldn’t pick my favorite pic, so I’ve shared several, to help you feel the (fabulous) love.

You can see the romantic love.

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You can see the familial love.

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You can see the parental love.

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You can see the self-confidence.

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All photos by Emily Wischnewsky.  Apparently, Emily just called up my friend and proposed an impromptu photo shoot. My friend said:

I was ecstatic… 1.) because we haven’t any type of family pic since my daughter was 2…she’ll be 9 this year, and 2.) because I didn’t think I’d have the opportunity to take any type of maternity pics. Plus any family time is awesome for me so we were just out there having fun!!

The instant I saw these, the old Sonny and Cher song, I Got You Babe, started running through my head (and now it might be in yours!).

I Got You Babe

They say we're young and we don't know
We won't find out until we grow
Well I don't know if all that's true
'Cause you got me, and baby I got you

Babe
I got you babe
I got you babe

They say our love won't pay the rent
Before it's earned, our money's all been spent
I guess that's so, we don't have a plot
But at least I'm sure of all the things we got

Babe
I got you babe
I got you babe

I got flowers in the spring
I got you to wear my ring
And when I'm sad, you're a clown
And if I get scared, you're always around

Don't let them say your hair's too long
'Cause I don't care, with you I can't go wrong
Then put your little hand in mine
There ain't no hill or mountain we can't climb

Babe
I got you babe
I got you babe

I got you to hold my hand
I got you to understand
I got you to walk with me
I got you to talk with me
I got you to kiss goodnight
I got you to hold me tight
I got you, I won't let go
I got you to love me so

I got you babe
I got you babe
I got you babe
I got you babe
I got you babe
I got you babe
I got you babe
I got you babe
Songwriters: Sonny Bono
I Got You Babe lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

 

A Brand-New Jazz Composition for Your Sunday Listening Pleasure

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My son performing a solo on the melodica (in the blue suit)

I’ve posted several jazz originals from our Musical Millennial (my son, a college sophomore majoring in Jazz Composition). Tonight, I am thrilled to share his latest (and my favorite), a 12-minute suite with multiple movements that (in my humble opinion) is heartbreakingly beautiful. It was performed by the University of Texas at Austin’s Jazz Orchestra at their winter concert a couple of weeks ago and I was blessed to be in the audience.

Live Recording of “Repurification (Laura, Ryan, and the Thunderstorm)”

The piece is titled “Repurification (Laura, Ryan, and the Thunderstorm)”, and was written for a special performance at the opening of an art exhibit at the Blanton Museum Museum of Art in Austin. The video is below; if you play it, I encourage you to listen to the whole thing – it is like several different but complementary tunes, or perhaps several stops along a journey. My son is on piano and melodica, and every one of the musicians brings their A-game in this performance, directed by Professor Jeffrey Helmer.

In the Composer’s Words

If you’ve gotten this far, you might be interested in the program notes.  These are my son’s words about his composition.

From the time I started composing, I have always attempted to channel at least a portion of the music I grew up with – Pat Metheny, Weather Report, Stevie Wonder, Jobim/Regina, etc. However, in more recent days, I’ve been reevaluating just why it is that I’m consistently called back to the earliest memorable parts of my life for artistic inspiration, and I’ve reached a conclusion: we view the world differently as children. Some adults describe this phenomenon in a glass-half-empty way, saying, “A child’s world is so much smaller,” but I tend to see the exact opposite.  We experience small, routine things (such as the raw atmosphere of our front yard on a cold cloudy night or a bike ride through the neighborhood on a sunny Saturday morning in June) through a magnified lens when we’re young, innocent, and unencumbered by any kind o cynicism brought about by the burdens of adulthood.

It was this part of my thought process that was completely electrified this past fall, when the Blanton Museum of Art’s photography exhibit The Open Road brought with it a selection of works by Ryan McGinley, almost all of which exclusively aim to capture millennials throwing their troubles away out in the open country, particularly one entitled Laura (Thunderstorm). McGinley’s ability to capture this same youthful, pure human warmth in sometimes cold, bleak environments not only intrigues me to this day – it inspired, and almost demanded, that I take aim at the same goal musically, culminating tonight in this piece, entitled Repurification (Laura, Ryan, and the Thunderstorm). — Thomas Wenglinski

At a Loss for Words / My Heart Grew Too Big for My Body

Well.

I’m not often at a loss for words, Dear Readers, but is hard to explain how I felt, reading those notes before the concert, and then hearing my son’s composition played so beautifully.

My heart grew too big for my body.

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The kid and me at the piano

Coincidentally, or perhaps not, I had just posted in the blog about how my own world changed when I became a parent all those years ago, because it gave me another lens to look through: his. (See Haiku: Little Ones).

 

Hmmm. Perhaps all parents of musicians and artists feel this way when they experience their child’s art; it is both surprising and not, like getting a long-awaited response to a question that you already knew the answer to. As in, “Wow, I can’t believe he created something so beautiful / Gee, I always knew he would create beautiful things.”

References:

Haiku: Little Ones

A friend with young children sent me a couple of pictures today that reminded me how precious and fleeting that time of life is when your children are small.

fullsizeoutput_21d8The pictures of my friend’s little one were all smiles, joy, simplicity and innocence, evoking memories of when my son was a toddler.

I remember the way my heart grew beyond its capacity when I became a parent – and that the way my son looked at the world changed my own perspective on life and what’s important. It still does.

That was just a few minutes ago. But somehow my son is 20 now.

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The author Elizabeth Stone said:

Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.

She’s right.

So this haiku is dedicated to all parents of little ones (and once-little ones who’re all grown up now) as today’s effort for National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo).

baby-chubby hugs
calla lily caresses
simple innocence

 

© 2018 Glover Gardens

While Waiting for Hurricane Harvey, Here’s a Hurricane Rita Story: No One Understands a Mom Like Another Mom

As we hunker down here in Southeast Texas waiting for Hurricane Harvey, previous hurricanes have been on my mind.  When you live within striking distance of the Gulf Coast, you have a hurricane story (or four) to share, and I thought this would be a good time to once again post this epic tale of the mass evacuation from Hurricane Rita and how it became the memory of a lifetime for two moms and three small boys.

If you decide to read it – and I hope you do! – be prepared to “sit a spell” (as my grandmother used to say), and maybe grab a coffee or a chardonnay to sip while you put yourself in our shoes.

Ten years after Hurricane Rita, I shared this remembrance of the mass evacuation from Southeast Texas and how it became an adventure. Now it can entertain us while we we to see what Harvey brings.

Read the story here: A Hurricane Rita Story: No One Understands a Mom Like Another Mom | Glover Gardens Cookbook

And watch this space for any new adventures that Harvey may bring as we shelter in place here at Glover Gardens. We are not in the direct path of Harvey’s landfall, but definitely in the big-time after-Harvey flood zone party. That’s us just northwest of the big “H” in Houston below.

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Glover Gardens never floods up into the house (“God willing and the creek don’t rise!”), but our pine trees don’t do well with standing water. Just last year with had a bit of a problem with a trees coming down during a flood, and perhaps a tornado (click here for the post, called If a Tree Falls on a House, Does Anyone Hear It?).

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It used to be the outdoor kitchen

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We’re all put back together now, and hope that Harvey lets us stay that way! Prayers and good wishes for everyone in his path.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Godspeed, Robert Osborne: A Millennial Mourns

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Mr. Osborne, the way we remember him: educating us about classic movies, helping us understand their current and cultural significance

Our Family Mourns, with the Millennial Out in Front

My 19-year old son made this heartfelt post on Instagram last night after learning of the death of Robert Osborne, the longtime public face of Turner Classic Movies (TCM):

Hearing of this man’s passing today hit my whole family pretty hard – Robert Osborne was, as the LA Times perfectly summed up today, “everyone’s favorite movie date”. Hosting the bulk of Turner Classic Movies’s weeknight programming, he always presented the perfect cure for a rough day at work or school or just in general – the best and most beloved movies America’s rich cinematic history has to offer. Sometimes it was a movie already heralded as a masterpiece (i.e. Casablanca, Roman Holiday, In the Heat of the Night, etc.), and sometimes it was something you’d never heard of before but were bound to love (The Louis Pasteur Story, The Day of the Jackal, etc.).

And regardless of the movie, you always felt a sense of a shared experience with the TV knowing that Robert would be there at the beginning to tell you a bit about it, and again at the end to make a few closing remarks and perhaps share a quick funny story or two.

This man shaped both my parents’ admiration for the power of movies, and by introducing me to TCM as a child, they allowed him to do the same for me.

Godspeed, Mr. Osborne.

Oh my.  I feel this on so many levels.  TCM has truly been a bedrock platform for my son’s childhood, with Robert Osborne its magnificent maestro.

Superficial, and Yet…Not

60003605Movies are so trivial, you may say. Why is the young man so upset about the death of a movie-describer? Well sure, movies are not on the same level as these topics: religion, philosophy, civic responsibility, political movements and unrest, historical milestones, war, social mores, filial devotion, deep friendship, great loves and sacrifice…but oh, I guess they are, actually.  Movies are a reflection of us, of our culture, in all its brilliance and trivial insignificance and intransigence.  Movies cover every one of these important areas of life, and can at the same time reflect our most idealistic and our most base instincts and beliefs. For example, my son mentioned “In the Heat of the Night”; was there ever a better movie to expose the stupidity of institutional racism? Robert Osborne’s introduction of this movie is a thing for the ages. With all of his movie intros and outros, he helped us understand the context of the time in which they were made, and their historical and current cultural significance.

Family Bonding; Movies as Connection

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William Powell as a butler in My Man Godfrey

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Our cat, Godfrey, resembling his namesake

I was a single mom for a time. My one little boy-child and I watched movies together on TCM on a nightly basis – when there wasn’t a school event, a baseball game, rehearsal for a church play or a family event.  Fred and Ginger were frequent companions, Errol Flynn was a familiar face, and we even named a cat after William Powell in My Man Godfrey.  My son can wax poetic about the virtues of The Philadelphia Story vs. the remake, High Society; the same with regard to Fred Astaire vs. Gene Kelly.  He paid me one one of my favorite compliments ever:  “Mom, you remind me of Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”(that would be the Marilyn Monroe character, and yes, I’m vain enough to think that is a compliment).

The kid is a man-child now and off to college to study jazz composition.  I think of movies, randomly, and text him.  Have you seen The Graduate?  Yes, saw it at Grandma and Grandpa’s last summer.  The Night of the Hunter?  Yes, watched it with Dad.  Sunset Boulevard? Yes, Aunt Julie showed it to me the last time I was in Virginia.  The kid definitely gets his movie appreciation from both sides of his family.

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A text from me to my son earlier this year of a movie that was showing on TCM; we have seen this movie together about a dozen times

Guys and Dolls is one of our favorites, and when I sent him a text with this clip during his first semester of college, he said:  “Recognized it before i even hit play! #askmehowdoifeel”, which is a reference to the song from the movie, If I Were a Bell.  (This would be the point where I should acknowledge that my own love for movies comes from my Dad, who introduced me to all of these classics the first time around.  Thanks, Dad!)

Goodbye, Mr. Classy

Ben Mankiewicz gave a brief farewell to Robert Osborne tonight before the start of the movie I’m watching right now, Anne of 1000 Days.  He described Robert Osborne as a man who loved movies, actors, and fans, who had “class, wit and charm”.  Yes. Below is a short tribute, in advance of a longer one TCM will air later this month.

What We Mean Is…

It is really hard to explain why we are so sad about losing Robert Osborne.  We didn’t know him.  He didn’t know us.  But.  His introductions to the movies that became the vernacular of our lives shaped our understanding of them, and their meaning.  Movies become shorthand for power-packed pellets of meaning:  how many times have you quoted a brief line of a movie to make a point?

  • “We don’t need no stinking badges!”
  • “Tomorrow is another day.”
  • “At long last, have you no sense of decency?”
  • “There’s no place like home.”
  • “You can’t handle the truth!”
  • “Plastics.”
  • “We’ll always have Paris.”
  • “There’s no crying in baseball.”
  • “Go ahead, make my day.”
  • “May the Force be with you.”

Robert Osborne translated these truisms and anachronisms for us when he explained the meaning of classic films, and made them accessible.  He also just seemed like a very nice guy.  To quote my son the millennial, “Regardless of the movie, you always felt a sense of a shared experience with the TV knowing that Robert would be there at the beginning to tell you a bit about it, and again at the end to make a few closing remarks and perhaps share a quick funny story or two.”

Are You a Classic Movie Lover?  Win a Prize

Do you share our love of classic movies?  We will send a copy of the book Turner Classic Movies Essentials to the first follower to correctly identify the movies from the ten quotes above in a comment.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook