Concert Review – The Movie Music of John Williams

I’m not a huge fan of live music, but I AM a movie lover. The best, most iconic movies are usually supported by an amazing soundtrack. Think of some of the top films of our time…now imagine them without a stirring score. Imagine the 1977 Star Wars without The Imperial March, or Luke Skywalker’s Theme.  Would it even be Star Wars? A great composition carries the viewer into new worlds, offering rousing emotional cues and magical movie moments.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that many of our A+ film lists are heavily weighted by one beloved composer: John Williams.

So when I heard San Diego would host a special summer concert of the music of John Williams, I was all over it, and off I went to the Jacobs Music Center in downtown San Diego. Was it great? Well…it should have been. Part of it was wonderful. The program was in two halves, starting with a sampler variety of films. And the second part? It was all Star Wars. I guess that shouldn’t come as a surprise.  😉

I think was did surprise me was the first half:  for some reason, the chosen themes weren’t the most well-known in their franchises. Yes, absolutely play the music from Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, Superman, and Harry Potter! But how about the songs we best recognize and love? I don’t think The Last Crusade contains the most memorable Indiana score, nor the Lost World from the Jurassic Park series. I find those choices a little mystifying. Why not use the beloved Hedwig’s Theme from Harry Potter? And I don’t even recognize the movie title “BFG”…surely something from ET might have been a better choice from the child-oriented end of John Williams’ oeuvre.

At least the concert opened with a bang, using the Superman March from the original 1978 Superman. And the entire Star Wars second half of the program was as nostalgically transporting as any geek could hope.

Here’s the performance list from my July 18, 2018 concert (as worded from my program):

  • “Superman March” from Superman
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: “Harry’s Wondrous World”
  • Suite from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: “Bridge to the Past”
  • “A Child’s Tale” suite from The BFG
  • “Scherzo for Motorcycle” from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  • “The Adventures of Indiana Jones” I.Swashbuckler (The Adventures of Mutt)
  • “Theme” from The Lost World

Intermission

  • Selection from Star Wars

The program info could have been written better. For example, I’d like to remember which songs from which Star Wars films were used, although I did recognize them all. A list might have been nice. 🙂

Overall, this was a fine experience, but not a great one. The musicians can’t be faulted — everything sounded like it was performed in the movies themselves. Conductor Sameer Patel was lively and probably superb, although I wouldn’t recognize one conductor’s work from another, to be honest. But from the selections chosen, I don’t think I’d pay $30 to see this again.

What I would do again, in a heartbeat, are those outdoor symphony performances of music played TO THE MOVIES. I’ve now seen several of the Harry Potter films performed that way, and most recently, Star Wars: A New Hope (<—–concert/movie review). If I’m lucky, that will become a habit.

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Dinosaurs and Mead in San Diego: Bronto Brewery

Where can you have a serious sword fight  beneath the skeleton of a T-Rex, drinking handcrafted mead from ancient recipes, play geeky games, and watch classic sci-fi movies? That would be the Bronto Brew Meadery in San Diego.

The owners are certified geeks, just like their patrons, and if that sounds like you, then you’re invited to come in until, like Cheers, “Everybody knows your name.”

Deanna Giwlt, Dan Gwilt, and Ryan Gwilt created Bronto Brew Meadery exactly two years ago (with a celebratory anniversary coming up), with the intention of using a Jurassic Park theme. There’s a T-Rex family in the entry, a giant nest of Brontosaur eggs inside, ancient vinesrcreeping in, dino prints and the sense of entering a long-abandoned Mesozoic-sourced lab when you sit inside to order your mead.

Mead — honey wine, at it’s most distilled point — is what they do. It’s ALL they do. And they do it very, very well. Something for all tastes – some are like a hoppy IPA brew, a sweet wine, a heady cider,  fruit-forward vino, or a rich red port.

I was lucky enough to get a behind the scenes tour of the Bronto Brew Meadery with my photographer Ola Sojoba. We saw the entire process, starting with massive vats of honey, to small production bottles of such rarities as Stegosaurus Blood (ask for it and they might make more. It’s, shall we say, deeply red and wonderfully rich). My favorite is the classic, however, the Pure Bronto. This tastes exactly like I would expect a classic mead to be: a brew that Nordic gods like Thor,  or heroes like Beowulf, or kings like Theoden, are used to serving in their golden halls.

Deanna is especially nerdy, in a good way, about her dinosaur-themed establishment. They welcome nerds, geeks, and “normals” of all stripes, with a full array of giant screen movies, a towering stack of games, regular D&D events, special dragon goblets to rent, and a giant jenga. And swords.

During our tour, Sojoba and I were treated to a full “Pterodactyl Flight” and a game of Exploding Kittens (which is weirder than it sounds, and it certainly sounds strange enough).  Deanna and I also took up swords and hacked the holy hell out of each other, while the men cringed and hovered protectively. We plan a rematch soon. Avast!

Because this of the week leading up to the newest Jurassic World movie (JW 2: Fallen Kingdom), we were excited to attend the movie rewatch, projected huge dino-sized on the wall. Starting with Jurassic Park Classic (the best; still holds up), we moved on to The Lost World (also pretty good). Coming up is the woe- begotten lame JP III (it has a campy value, I guess), and the nicely thrilling, recently revitalized Jurassic World 1 (do not underestimate the value of Chris Pratt). This will probably be a annual event. 

All FREE, of course. You don’t even have to buy a brew, although, heck, you should give it a try. I’ve had many meads in my day, and these guys are the real deal. Cloudy and rich, just like they enjoyed it in the Middle Ages.

The tour was really involved. We saw big vats of organic honey. Those were fermented into a “must” with special yeast, with the addition of either hops, of flowers, or sweet fruits, to create a lovely flight of surprisingly different colors/tastes. If it’s your first visit, we recommend trying a flight, starting with the Pure Bronto, and asking for the rest by mentioning your interest in hoppy, floral, or sweet tastes. Most names have some kind of dino-relation in the title, which is only appropriate. It’s a good time at a good price.

Deanna said she chose the title Bronto because there were not a lot of mead, beer, or coffee places with dinosaurs in the titles. She said, “Dinosaurs stand out and draw attention to them.” When they go to the farmer’s markets, the first thing they see is the T-Rex , and that people crave dinosaurs. She said even introverts feel inspired to talk it about and ask about their mead. These people become regulars for gaming nights, socializing over board games.

What’s also nice is that mead is gluten free. So people worried about whether they can drink the classic beverages are safe. It’s an historical drink that no one has to stress about.

July 21 is the national natural Mead Anniversary, and Bronto is very excited about preparing for this event, showing FREE large screen movies having to do when the era mead was popular.

August 1 will showcase a HUGE event  as their Mead Day, where children, dogs and adults all will be welcome. Homemade necklace pendents and earrings (priced at $12) will be available to purchase. Teeshirts cost $20, with two priced at $30.

Information will be be updated on their Facebook page, and incluce all the info on their regular games and fun events. I’ll keep fan apprised here as well.

What kind of new dinosaur decor should we expect from the Bronto Brew? We’re told there will be more vines and some ‘aging’ decor, to make it clear this is from the Isla Nublad era, around where the science fell into ruin. We likee. Last time I visited, the vines started showing up and the scene was set for a decayed trip to Jurassic Park. Very nice. More jungle ambiance and dino murals are expected soon.

The original look of biolab coats and lab hazard signs are up and ready to go.

Deanna said that she grew up with The Land Before Time, the Flintstones, Puff the Magic Dragon, and that even the Power Rangers had dragons! With the new binge-popular shows like Game of Thrones, plus the revitalized Jurassic movies, this is the perfect time to bring dinosaurs back to popular consciousness.

So what dino themed mead drinks can you choose from? Ask for these:

  • Pure Bronto- the house Mead, a perfect meady blend
  • Stegosaurus Blood – deeply fruit and dry – a select small batch
  • Velicoberry – fruity dry
  • Citrodon – beery fun
  • Hibiscus Berry – floral beer-like taste
  • Cretaceous Bloom – a nice sour
  • Achilobactor
  • Hoposaurus – A sweet IPA beer version of mead

The tap masters have a full array of choices to pull together different mead  cocktails — choices to make all patrons happy, putting their favorites into unusual blends.  These guys are seriously creative, and in love with their unusual product. Ask for the mixologic options

Deanna concludes, “Jurassic Park is using science and tech to bring back something ancient and fun – and we love it.”

Look for Part Two of this series on Bronto Brew Meadery, where we take you from honey vat to finished treat, postedaboutt Mead Day. RunPee will update you on on what FREE mead-themed movies will be posted to get you in the mood.

All images by Ola Sojoba, Owned by RunPee.com – all to be added ASAP  (traveling in Mexico right now and it’s a challenge). 

Hours of Operation

Friday: 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Saturday: 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Bronto Mead
9235 Trade Place, D, San Diego, CA 92126
(619) 796 – 3096

 

 

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Movie Rewatch: Jurassic Park – The Lost World

While enjoying a lovely pint of hand crafted mead at the San Diego Bronto Brew Meadery, I got to view a free social rewatch of the entire Jurassic oeuvre. With Jurassic World 2: Fallen Kingdom opening in the US this week, that’s five fun movies. Or, well, some fun movies and one that sucked (Hi, JP III).

While it’s got it’s detractors, The Lost World is a decent film, the second best in the series. It has a real plot that’s explored organically, with good characterizations, and some intensely riveting dino action.   Its main problem is that it can never be as tightly gripping or simply magical as the original. And it still has the goofy kid sequences that plague the franchise. But let’s talk about what we liked.

How about that RV scene? You know the one. Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum, playing Jeff Goldblum), not quite as dead as supposed, talks about the running and the screaming to follow. He’s in that turbo-charged Tech RV ( I WANT ONE) that a T-Rex couple industriously push off the side of a cliff. The humans did, as humans do, something incredibly stupid with the baby T-Rex, and now the parents need to rid their territory of the pesky people, in the most dramatic way possible.

The scene where Sarah lands on the RV window above the crashing coast is the singular iconic moment  in The Lost World. Never mind that someone with her education makes every  mistake from the Megafauna 101 class…at that moment, we’re with her,  holding our collective breaths, as the glass cracks spider outward. Brrr. Good scene. Silly stuff aside (these guys can’t hold that wet, muddy rope in their bare hands, much less

climb it, but whatever), it’s a stirring sequence. When poor Toby from the West Wing dies horribly we wince, and then cheer when the previously antagonist hunters lends their literal hands to save our guys. It’s all the people against the dinosaurs from this point on. 

There are chases, there are deaths. The chicken-sized Compys strike back against an arrogant human, and our unfortunate paleontologist dies a nasty death, somewhere between a snake bite, a waterfall, and one big set of jaws.

Things go pretty good, story-wise, introducing the Raptor area (cool shots of humans being hunted in the tall grass)…and then things start getting wacky. The gymnastics scene is obviously nuts, but the worst offense of The Lost World are the scenes on the ship and in San Diego.

One: If the T-Rex is still contained in the cargo bay, how come the bridge crew was eaten? No matter how many times I watch this, I still don’t understand how we’re supposed to believe this happened. There’s a hand gripping the steering wheel and no body…all while the large animal in question is contained. Below decks. Is there an invisible Raptor onboard?

There’s a scene showing how the T-Rex breaks out of containment after the ship crashes, and goes looking for drinking water (a pool) and food (poor doggy). I live in San Diego, and I don’t think they bothered to actually film down here. There’s some more unrealistic sequences of a hungry T-Rex “downtown” chasing trolleys, flinging cars, snacking on unfortunate people, and running after Tokyo businessmen (okay, the Godzilla nod was cute).

The climax scene, where the industrialist is used as a hunting lesson for the T-Rex Baby is…icky in its implications. I may not have liked the man, but no one deserves to be hobbled and eaten alive. It’s one of the things I don’t like about the Jurassic films: the deaths that people cheer at are just gristly. The assistant in Jurassic World 1 does NOTHING to deserve that horrific Ptherodont/Mosasaurus duo nightmare.  Did she have a villain scene left on the cutting room floor?

And Toby is split into two pieces in Lost World, while being a selfless hero. I guess I’m supposed to find it funny in Jurassic Park Classic when the “bloodsucking lawyer” gets chomped on the loo, but seriously, that’s some awful sh!t happening (no pun intended). I don’t know why that’s played for laughs.

I get it, people die when man meets beast. But I don’t feel good laughing about it. These films walk a thin line at times. But there I am again, talking about things I didn’t like. These movies are intended as a way to eat your popcorn and disengage the brain. These are movies where scientists are the heroes, and I very much appreciate that.

The things that are great: when the movies remember these creatures are animals, not monsters. When we feel the magic of our youth stirred by seeing “real” dinosaurs, and interacting peaceably with them. When John William’s stirring score carries us along, and we are reminded there are wondrous things ahead of us. I hope we might be wise enough to see them come to pass. I hope we will be ready, because, as we know…life finds a way. 

———-

Note: I’m definitely impressed with how John Williams manages to recall the beauty of the first film in his soundtrack, while also setting The Lost World apart with the fanfare of an almost military theme. It doesn’t have the softly nostalgic notes of the first film, but it stirs the soul nevertheless. The man is a national treasure. Get the movie and soundtrack here: 

Jurassic Park III and Jurassic World 1 are playing for FREE at San Diego’s Dino-themed craft beverage Bronto Brew Meadery. Come for two more free nights of giant screen movies, under T-Rex skeletons and beside a giant nest of Brontosaurus eggs. FREE events! Friday and Saturday nights, June 22 and 23, on 9235 Trade Place, D, San Diego, CA 92126 (619) 796 – 3096

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)