Breaking Bolcom: Structural Similarities between William Bolcom and Breaking Bad

In actuality, William Bolcom – a prominent living postmodern composer – and the creative forces behind Breaking Bad – a critically acclaimed TV drama about a cancer-stricken former high school chemistry teacher who resorts to manufacturing meth – probably have very little in common.  Both are have been pampered with awards and praise for their respective works, and both have created art that responds to modern life in unique and fascinating ways.  Yet, I have no idea if Bolcom watches Breaking Bad, and there is a good chance that few (if any) of those in the show’s writers’ room have ever heard of Bolcom.  There is a good chance that very little inspiration passes from one side of this arbitrary connection to the other, and there is an even better chance there is none whatsoever. But art is funny like that.  Sometimes artists use similar abstract processes in their creations even when they achieve wildly different concrete results. Take, for example, “Scherzo Vitale” (the second movement from Bolcom’s Third Symphony) and “Shotgun” (the fifth episode from Breaking Bad’s fourth season, written by Thomas Schnauz and directed by Michelle MacLaren).  The former comes from a remarkable larger work, but this movement more »

Best TV Moments of 2012

The Golden Age of Television is upon us.  True, the black hole of TV crap seems to be expanding exponentially, but for every Honey Boo Boo out there, there’s a Walter White.  Because of the range and depth of the quality on TV right now, it would be impossible for me to rank them in any concise list.  Last year, I chose to compile a list of my favorite characters on TV, but since a similar list this year would yield nearly identical results, I decided to take a different route this year. Below are my favorite moments from my favorite shows this past year (of the ones I’ve seen, at least).  They range anywhere from single scenes to entire episodes, but they are all unforgettable in their own ways.  To avoid any sort of hierarchy, they are simply presented in chronological order: The Colbert Report, Maurice Sendak interviews from “Grim Colberty Tales” – We may have lost Sendak this past year, but at least we have this memorable tribute to his wonderful, deranged little mind.  Taped interviews such as these are typically highlights in the Colbert Report oeuvre, but Sendak’s toast-dry, asphault-dark sense of humor makes him perhaps the more »