Song of the Day #1965

Song of the Day: Watermelon Man, composed by Herbie Hancock, was first recorded in 1962 for the artist’s bop album, “Takin’ Off“, with Dexter Gordon and Freddie Hubbard. It was later funked-up by Hancock for his 1973 fusion album, “Head Hunters“, and given a Latin twirl by Mongo Santamaria, a recording that was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Just as we started this festival off with “Watermelon Sugar“, so we conclude it with “Watermelon Man“. Check out Hancock’s 1962 recording and his 1973 reimagining, as well as the 1962 rendition by Mongo Santamaria (below) [YouTube links]. The Autumnal Equinox arrives in the Northern Hemisphere at 9:03 pm tonight. And so our Seventh Annual Summer Music Festival (Edible Edition) comes to an end.

Song of the Day #1964

Song of the Day: Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White is the English version of a 1950 song written by Louiguy. In 1955, Perez Prado recorded a version of the song that spent ten weeks at #1 on the Billboard chart. Check out the Perez Prado rendition and another by Harry James with the Buddy Rich Orchestra [YouTube links].

Song of the Day #1963

Song of the Day: Cherry, Cherry, composed by Neil Diamond, is from the 1966 album, “The Feel of Neil Diamond.” Considered by Rolling Stone to be “one of the greatest three-chord songs of all time,” it reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Check it out on YouTube.

Song of the Day #1962

Song of the Day: (Ah The Apple Trees) When the World Was Young, music by Philippe Gerard, French lyrics by Angele Vannier, English lyrics by Johnny Mercer, has been recorded by countless artists through the years. Check out renditions by Edith Piaf (in the original French, as “Le chevalier de Paris“), Aretha Franklin, Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee, Mel Torme, Eydie Gorme, and Frank Sinatra [YouTube links]. Apple is the official fruit of New York, and today, The Big Apple, and all those who have been nourished by its fruitfulness, mark the twenty-first anniversary of 9/11. In memory of those whose lives we lost.

The Twin Towers, from the Staten Island Ferry, May 12, 2001
Photograph by Chris Matthew Sciabarra

See Facebook discussion here.

JARS: Toward a 2023 Grand Finale

In the fall of 1999, The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies began publication as the only nonpartisan, interdisciplinary, double-blind, peer-reviewed, biannual periodical devoted to the study of Ayn Rand and her times. In 2013, JARS began a fruitful collaboration with Pennsylvania State University Press. Our reach has grown beyond anyone’s wildest expectations. We are indexed, in whole or in part, by nearly two dozen abstracting services across the humanities and the social sciences and are reaching thousands of global readers due to our availability on a variety of e-platforms—from JSTOR and Project MUSE to the new Scholarly Publishing Collective. And all its issues will always be on the Portico dark archive.

Over these last 22 years, JARS has contributed to the expansion of Rand scholarship in a truly significant way. With the forthcoming December 2022 issue, we will have published 408 articles by 188 different authors. Thus, we have not merely reflected a growing interest in Rand’s ideas; we have helped to spark a broader critical engagement with a thinker who was once viewed as outside the philosophical and literary mainstream. To this extent, we have accomplished one of our most important goals. Indeed, unlike the first year in which JARS appeared, articles about Rand are now being published regularly across the world in a wide variety of scholarly journals. And each year, more and more books are being published about her ideas and influence, and not even we can keep up with the demand for reviews of this expanding literature.

There comes a point at which one can look back at the achievements of a project and declare that it is time to move on. After more than two decades of what could only be termed ‘a labor of love’ by a group of editors, advisory board members, peer readers, and writers, this journal will be publishing its last volume as a double issue in 2023. We look forward to providing our readers with a truly grand finale. Our back issues will continue to be made available electronically and in print for as long as there are people seeking their contents.

This decision was made by the JARS Foundation Board of Trustees. This was not a publisher decision to liquidate JARS—which has been one of the most popular periodicals in the Penn State University Press Journals Program.

We know that there is still much work to be done in this field of study, but we are proud to have made a trailblazing contribution to its long-term vitality and success. Above all, we thank our readers for having made this journey possible.

Toward that end, I should note that we have a full slate of articles for our final July-December 2023 issue and will not be accepting any additional submissions beyond those already in production.

***

As a personal aside, I have been asked by friends and colleagues about my own future in a post-JARS era. All I can say is this: It is no coincidence that the last book I published as an author was in the year 2000. It was the conclusion of my “Dialectics and Liberty Trilogy”: Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism. Since then, I have worked very hard as a founding coeditor of JARS, publishing the equivalent of two anthologies per year for what will be nearly a quarter century. Aside from several reviews and historical-archival essays that I contributed to JARS, my only “side” project was as a coeditor of The Dialectics of Liberty: Exploring the Context of Human Freedom (2019). I fully intend to invest much more time and effort in expanding on this dialectical research project and its implications for human freedom and personal flourishing. But before I return to that project, I will be moving toward the completion of JARS. I’m proud of what this journal has accomplished and look forward to its graceful conclusion.

___
*This has been announced publicly on Facebook and a link to it can also be found on the JARS home page. It was also announced by Stephen Boydstun on Objectivism Online.

Film Recommendation: I Am Not Alone (2019)

I finally had a chance to see the 2019 documentary, “I Am Not Alone“, written, directed, and coprodued by Garin Hovannisian, with whom I enjoyed much correspondence some years ago. Among its other producers is my friend Alec Mouhibian. The film details the makings of the 2018 Armenian “Velvet” Revolution, which commenced with the anti-government protests staged by Nikol Pashinyan (who went on to become that country’s Prime Minister in May 2018). The against-all-odds protests began in response to the third consecutive term of Serzh Sargsyan, the most powerful politician in the country at that time.

This truly outstanding film documents the power of bottom-up civil disobedience as a means to affecting political change. Highly recommended!

Happy 70th Ski Birthday (and Song of the Day #1961)

Song of the Day: Tangerine, music by Victor Schertzinger, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, was introduced to a broad audience in the 1942 film, “The Fleet’s In,” where it was performed by the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra with Bob Eberle and Helen O’Connell [YouTube link]. It soon became a jazz standard. Check out instrumental renditions by Oscar Peterson, Jim Hall, The Dave Brubeck Quartet with Paul Desmond, Chet Baker & Paul Desmond, Benny Goodman, Stan Getz & Bob Brookmeyer, Zoot Sims, Dexter Gordon, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass and vocal renditions by Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Harry Connick, Jr., Ilya Serov and Poncho Sanchez, and, of course, the Salsoul Orchestra [YouTube links]. Today, my sister turns 70, and judging by how many she’s had over the years, I’d say the tangerine has got to be her Favorite Fruit! A happy and healthy birthday, dear sister, with my love always!

“Ms. Ski” Turns 70

Postscript (9/3/22): The pic below was taken this morning. Thanks to everybody who expressed their love & support.

❤

See Facebook discussion here.

Film: We the Living 80 Update

I last wrote about the 80th anniversary restoration of the 1942 film adaptation of Ayn Rand’s We the Living back on April 28, 2022. Here’s another update from Duncan Scott.

We wanted to take a minute to say thank you to all of the great people who contributed time, money, and encouragement towards restoring We the Living.

This Labor Day weekend marks the exact 80th anniversary of the film’s premiere in 1942 at the Venice Film Festival. So it’s the perfect time to share some terrific news: All the finishing touches to the We the Living 80th Anniversary Restoration have been completed!

The last major challenge was restoring the audio. Previously, static, popping, and hum could frequently be heard in the film. After a six-week process, those defects have been almost completely removed. The movie now sounds as good as it looks—nearly as good as when it first played in theaters in Rome!

Next, the critical distribution and promotion phase begins. ​We the Living will enjoy a wide release that includes art-house movie theaters, DVD, and video-on-demand. In addition, it will be distributed to colleges and schools through educational distribution services. Audiences around the world will be able to discover this inspiring movie and the fundamental values it so powerfully dramatizes.

And if you haven’t heard the news: We the Living was honored at Il Cinema Ritrovato (Cinema Rediscovered) on June 27, 2022, in Bologna, Italy. Il Cinema Ritrovato is the world’s major festival of film restoration. This brought the movie to the attention of distributors of classic films. Discussions with three of those companies are underway.

Also, a sneak preview of We the Living was shown on July 5th at OCON, the Objectivist Summer Conference hosted by the Ayn Rand Institute. Over 350 people attended the screening and several hundred more attended a one-hour presentation on the history of the film. These events heightened awareness of the upcoming release among a key audience—fans of Ayn Rand’s works.

A theatrical booking service has been engaged and is now setting up art house theater engagements in New York City and Los Angeles. These two markets are critical to the successful launch of any film, but they are particularly important for bringing attention to a newly restored film classic. Other cities across North America and overseas will be added as the general release of the film gets underway. After the theatrical release, it will be distributed to home video, video-on-demand, and to educational markets.

The premiere engagement had been long planned for the fall of 2022, but for strategic distribution reasons, it will be a few months later. October to December is “award season” in the movie industry. During the flurry of award-qualifying screenings, theater availability is very limited and the movie would not get maximum attention from the media.

We the Living 80th Anniversary Restoration will open as early as possible in 2023. We will be excited to announce to you the specific theaters and dates as soon as these engagements are confirmed.

Stay tuned!

We the Living 80

Joey DeFrancesco, RIP

I was very saddened to hear of the death of jazz organ player Joey DeFrancesco, who died at the age of 51 on August 25, 2022.

RIP [YouTube link]

Courtesy, Wiki Commons

Song of the Day #1960

Song of the Day: Lemon Tree was composed by folk artist Will Holt, who was inspired by a Brazilian song from 1930. It went into the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 in a rendition recorded by Trini Lopez in 1965. Check out that version as well as renditions by Peter, Paul, and Mary, Bob Marley and the Wailers, The Kingston Trio, and Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass [YouTube links].