Woody Allen And His Other Hobby

If you are a fan of Woody Allen films, you are accustomed to the Dixie-style jazz that accompanies many of the soundtracks. And you are also aware that the great film talent has another very serious pursuit--playing clarinet with a group that gets together on a regular basis (you may remember he didn't accept his Best Direct Oscar because he was playing with the band that night in N.Y.).

After years of curiosity, I finally got to hear Woody Allen and His New Orleans Jazz Band as they performed tonight at Royce Hall at UCLA in Los Angeles to a sell-out crowd.

This was a polished, first-rate Dixieland jazz band which happens to have a very famous film actor-director-writer playing the clarinet parts. It was like listening to a live score being prepared for one of his movies.

It was delightful, comprehensive and highly professional.

Other than thanking the audience for coming at the beginning and introducing the
band members at the end, Woody focuses solely on being a member of the band made
up of piano, drums, banjo, trombone, trumpet and his clarinet.

Can he really play that thing? If he hadn't become a filmmaker,
he could be making a living as a top-rate clarinet player who
can handle some pretty dynamic solos.

Should you ever get a chance (I'd been waiting 40 years), you'll want to
see the musical side of Woody Allen.

Kim Jong Il is Not Ill Any More

It's easy to make fun of Kim Jung Il, the newly dead
dictatorial leader of North Korea. And that's what most
media is doing in the last few days since the announcement
of his death.

It's harder to think about the 25 million people that have
been enslaved in this Orwellian nightmare of a country.
Most can say nothing out of fear and many have been

When the TV and radio's only programming 24 hours a day
tells you how wonderful the great leader is; when anybody who
even criticized him or his father were thrown into re-education
camps where they were tortured and abused; when millions have
starved to death while he rewards himself with millions of dollars
of imported caviar and cognac every year; when people's lives
are watched by the minute by big brother in a police state with
absolutely no freedom...

it's easier to just ridicule the little dictator and not pressure
your own government into taking action to try and make
changes in that backwards society.

The new leader, his young son, will either be a psychotic maniac
just like his dad, or maybe he will want to make some long overdue
positive changes in this little piece of hell on earth.