THE MECHANICAL UNIVERSE Unbound

After the Project: Universe astronomy telecourse, Orange County’s Coast Community College District outdid themselves. From astronomy to physics, from one Universe title to another, was The Mechanical Universe and its follow-up that added some Beyond to the title. P:U will always be my personal favorite, but MU kicked everything up so many notches that it’s the more obviously impressive show, especially with its innovations in computer graphics.

This show was once expensive to acquire and difficult to see if you didn’t catch a broadcast on PBS, but now Cal Tech has put the entire thing up on their YouTube channel for free. Amazing!

Anne Kimbell, RIP

One of the most enjoyable aspects for me in researching Robot Monster was discovering that writer Wyott Ordung had some talent behind the camera and was a good actor. He directed (at least officially) Roger Corman’s first creature feature Monster from the Ocean Floor, while the film was mostly carried onscreen by its female lead, Anne Kimbell. Hers was the main character, and she more than ably pulled it off. From this write-up of her life, she loved the stage most as a performer, as many actors do, and stayed active in theater and the arts all around. Rest in peace.

La-La Land Records Has Had Enough of Vinyl

I read over at Film Score Monthly this comment from M.V. Gerhard of soundtrack label La-La Land Records:

In my opinion, vinyl is like living with a high maintenance 400 pound roommate who thinks they are all that.

It’s not worth our time, space, resources or money.

[Star Trek: The Motion Picture] is our last vinyl. Don’t get me wrong — it did incredibly well (will most likely sell out by year’s end), but we would rather focus on many other cd, blu-ray and film projects.

It’s gratifying when someone in the know confirms one of your pet opinions. I’ve long believed that the decade-plus vinyl revival is a hipster affectation, motivated by the democratizing effect that high-bandwith Internet had on the availability of rare music.

To put it another way: when I was growing up, you had to pay $20 for that imported Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians CD single just to get a weird bonus track. Now those rare tracks are all over YouTube, and it’s very hard to be cooler than the other cool people. But thanks to vinyl, large amounts of money can be flushed on a cumbersome, expensive, and fragile format that takes dedication to collect.

Whatever, I still feel like it’s 1987 and visions of a large CD collection are dancing in my head.

And if you want to experience Jerry Goldsmith’s majestic and mysterious score for STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, get La-La Land’s magnificent 3-CD release.