Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Sondheim’

Mom’s House (part 2)

11 August 2011

(This is the second part of what I think will be a three-part series about the home of my mother, Marge Linton, who passed away recently. You might want to read Mom’s House (part 1) here, then this second part below.)

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Life-sized Borofsky poster on mom’s dining room door

The door to the dining room (which was downstairs next to the kitchen and the den – shown at the top of the earlier post) the  has a human-sized poster from the 1986 Jonathan Borofsky show at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA.) I think that the poster was attached with wallpaper paste. I remember going alone to that Borofsky show on my day off, and really enjoying it, then bringing mom back to it later. I think we got Borofsky posters in a discounted clearance bin well after the show had closed.

On the right side of the door frame, if you look closely you might be able to see some markings. Here’s a closer look at them:

Family height markings on the doorframe

Each year, my mom would paint how tall each of the four of us kids were. It was on the same date each year, though I don’t think that the date had any special significance. Entries were color coded (ie: yellow 1975, blue 1976, etc.) We would compare each other “Look, Mark is already taller than I was when I was his age.”

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Chidren will listen

10 August 2011

Stephen Sondheim – photo from the Merrily We Roll Along LP cover

My mother, Marge Linton, was a huge fan of Stephen Sondheim, the incredibly wonderful composer and lyricist responsible for a host of wonderful musicals from Sweeney Todd to A Little Night Music to West Side Story and much much more.

The first time mom saw Sweeney Todd (the musical, not the movie, which she also enjoyed) was in the early 1980s, while I was away at Occidental College. She wrote me a letter that quoted all sorts of lyrics. I am pretty sure that she ran out and bought the soundtrack, as opposed to having memorized them from hearing a performance. I enjoyed mom’s letter, which I think was more than a third quoting Sweeney Todd lyrics, but I wasn’t entirely convinced of Todd‘s greatness until I later attended a live performance with her, soon thereafter. Since then, I’ve seen Todd, with mom, at least a half-dozen times at Cal State L.A., Occidental College, by the East West Players, and more.

Since mom passed away, I’ve been listening to a lot of Sondheim. As we, her kids, were sorting through her possessions, I got away with quite a few Sondheim CDs – even ones that I hadn’t even heard of – from Sweeney Todd Live at the New York Philharmonic to Sondheim Sings volumes 1 and 2. Sondheim Sings features remastered early versions of Sondheim songs sung by Sondheim himself accompanied by himself on piano. In few cases, he fills in missing lyrics with a sort of place-holder scat-singing. It’s a treat for me to see/hear work in progress… sometimes I think that the striving of the creative process is at least as interesting as the polished final product. (Some time I will tell the story of how I used to enjoy the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra’s rehearsals… but that’s another story. [Updated – see later LBSO story here.]) (more…)