Welcome to Talking ‘Bout My Generation

Hello there. I’m Dave Price and I operate this writing/speaking/video podcasting/tour guiding practice in Washington, DC. Before that, I was a journalist (10 years) and an educator and educational consultant (29 years).

We focus on 3 subjects:

  • the history, culture, and lifestyle of the Baby Boomer generation
  • the music of the Woodstock Generation (classic mid-60s/70s/early-80s rock, pop, and soul)
  • speech, dissent and protest for social problems still with us from the activist times of the 50s, 60s, and 70s

As a Book Author: The first book in my 3-book series (and my first book ever) on classic rock entitled Come Together: How the Baby Boomers, the Beatles and a Young Counterculture Combined to Create the Music of the Woodstock Generation was published in November of 2019. Come Together is currently available at the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington, DC. It can be purchased here through the Politics and Prose website. It is also available in a Kindle edition. Click here to purchase the book for Kindle for Amazon.

As Podcaster/Webcaster: I am a featured weekly recurring guest on of the Facebook/YouTube/Periscope/Twitch political talk program Divided We Stand

As a Blogger: I curate and publish 2 blogs – Garage Rock Redux – Revisiting the best frat rock, girl group rock, surf rock, British Invasion and proto-punk songs of 1960 -1969 and Has Your Soul Been Psychedelicized? Exploring the singles, album tracks and LPs that made up the acid/art rock sounds of the late 60s and 70s

As a Tour Guide: I led First Amendment tours at the Newseum from 2017 until the museum closed in 2019. Currently, all my tours for 2020 have been postponed due to restrictions for the coronavirus pandemic.

At this Website: This is a compendium of all my writing from 2011 to today that in some way relate to Baby Boomers or their concerns.

Here is a link to an online version of what academics call a CV and most of us call a resume. You can find out more there about who I am and what I have done there. Thanks for checking out my writer/speaker/tour guiding page. I hope you find things here to interest you and keep you coming back.

From my musical years playing in some of the loudest, least legendary bands in the Philadelphia/ South Jersey Shore area.

I Like to Be in America: ‘West Side Story’ Still Relevant After All These Years

Mention the names of lovers Tony and Maria or the song titles “Somewhere” or “I Like to Be in America” to just about any Baby Boomer and they’ll immediately know you’re talking about one of the greatest defining American musicals of their era, West Side Story.

For more than six decades now, Leonard Bernstein’s compelling, tragic reworking of the classic Romeo and Juliet tale set in New York City in the 1950s has been captivating hearts and minds of audiences around the world. But in today’s America, given our bitter battling over immigration and fear of the outsider, the acclaimed musical has been given renewed significance and is just as powerful in production as it was when it debuted on Broadway 1957 and won the Academy Award for best picture in 1961.

If he were alive, famed composer and conductor Bernstein would be 100 and to celebrate his centennial legacy The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. is offering a series of his of his works, including having the National Symphony Orchestra and a talented young cast from New York recently perform a special West Side Story in Concert.

“Today, it seems incredible that Leonard Bernstein could have written West Side Story, an up-to-the-minute commentary on gang warfare then in New York City,” says Fransesco Zambello, artistic director of Washington Orchestra. “But it is timeless in that it struggles with the ideals that are at the heart of the American project: the idea that we are all created equal, and with a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

“In West Side Story, discord between native-born Americans and recent immigrants leads to tragedy, but its most famous song is an anthem to true optimism, a belief in a world “Somewhere” where each person has a place, each person has a home,” Zambello added.

Zambello contends that while we should enjoy Bernstein’s music, we should never neglect his message. “If we simply enjoy the tunes we are missing the point,” he says. “Bernstein devoted his life not only to art, but also to advocacy, education, and the responsibilities of citizenship. May his legacy always inspire us to do the same.”

National Symphony Orchestra Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke, who led the musicians and even changed costume to portray the infamous Officer Kruppke in one scene, has often contemplated why West Side Storyis so enduring.

Reineke acknowledges that part of the musical’s popularity comes from Bernstein’s infectious melodies, complex rhythms, and jazz-infused harmonies. But it is the fact Bernstein’s music and Stephen Sonheim’s sometimes witty, sometimes heart-breaking lyrics, touches so many of us so deeply, he contends, that gives West Side Storyits staying power.

“It shines a mirror on each and every one of us to make us think about how we treat each other as fellow human beings. It exposes our prejudices and preconceived ideas about one race or one class versus another,” Reineke said. “Somehow, someday, somewhere – that was the issue Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim contemplated decades ago. To honor Bernstein’s centennial, I implore each of us as individuals to begin answering ‘Here, now, and compassionately.’”

10 Facts About West Side Story You May Not Have Known, But Will Now Thanks to Mental Floss and Writer Mark Mancini

1. IT WAS ORIGINALLY GOING TO BE ABOUT A CATHOLIC BOY & A JEWISH GIRL.

Religion and national identity would’ve driven the drama of East Side Story, which is what choreographer Jerome Robbins & composer Leonard Bernstein called the project they started working on in 1949. But eventually they decided that “the whole Jewish-Catholic premise [was] not very fresh” when they were having a poolside meeting in Beverly Hills six years later. Under the California sun, they decided to instead focus on—in Bernstein’s words — “two teenage gangs … one of them newly-arrived Puerto Ricans, the other self-styled ‘Americans.’” Because Manhattan’s eastern neighborhoods had been largely gentrified by then, their production was soon given its present title.

2. THE DIRECTOR INSISTED ON AN UNUSUALLY LONG REHEARSAL PERIOD.

Before opening night, your average 1957 musical cast was only given four or five weeks’ worth of practice. Robbins (who also sat in the director’s chair) demanded eight. “We had a lot of work to do,” he recalled, with the show’s intricate dance sequences requiring extra attention.

3. THE JETS & THE SHARKS WERE PROHIBITED FROM INTERACTING OFFSTAGE.

Robbins tried generating real hostility between these fictitious gangs. According to producer Hal Prince, the Broadway veteran kept both groups of actors as far away from each other as possible. “They were not allowed to socialize out of the theater, [and] they were not allowed to take their lunches together.” Obviously, this was an extreme approach. But over time, it started working.

4. FOUR-LETTER WORDS WERE REPLACED WITH INOFFENSIVE JIBBERISH.

Through West Side Story, lyricist Stephen Sondheim wanted the F-bomb to make its musical theater debut. Initially, this choice word appeared in “Gee, Officer Krupke,” but Columbia Records (which released their original cast recording) noted that using such language would violate obscenity laws and—hence—prevent the show from touring across state lines. Defeated, they went with “Krup you!” instead.

5. SPOILER ALERT: MARIA HAD A DELETED DEATH SCENE.

Shakespeare may have killed off both title characters in Romeo & Juliet, but one of West Side Story’s star-crossed lovers lives to see the final curtain drop. Things almost ended much differently. Maria’s untimely suicide was part of an early draft—until composer Richard Rodgers (of Rodgers and Hammerstein fame) offered his two cents. “She’s dead already, after this all happens to her,” he told Robbins.

6. BERNSTEIN PLUCKED “ONE HAND, ONE HEART” FROM A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT MUSICAL.

At the time, he was scoring West Side Story and Candide—which was based on Voltaire’s 1759 novella of the same name—simultaneously. Though Bernstein crafted “One Hand, One Heart” for that production, he repurposed it as a romantic duet between Tony and Maria. In exchange, “O Happy We,” which was originally a duet for West Side Storymoved to the first act of Candide.

7. “SOMETHING’S COMING” WAS WRITTEN LAST-MINUTE.

Just 12 days before West Side Story premiered in D.C. (it’d debut in New York later), Bernstein and Sondheim wrote Tony’s hopeful ballad. Their inspiration came from a piece of dialogue that the character was to deliver during his first scene. The line, as penned by playwright Arthur Laurents, went like this: “Something’s coming, it may be around the corner, whistling down the river, twitching at the dance—who knows?” When asked if he’d mind letting the sentence get turned into a number, he enthusiastically replied “Yes, take it, take it, make it a song.” This late arrival had to be re-orchestrated several times, making it a bit of a headache for the pit band.

8. AUDREY HEPBURN WAS TAPPED TO PLAY MARIA FOR THE FILM VERSION.

In 1959, the screen legend was pregnant—and because she’d already suffered two miscarriages, Hepburn wasn’t about to over-exert herself this time. So, when she was offered the lead role in what would arguably become the most celebrated movie musical ever shot, she declinedRebel Without a Cause star Natalie Wood got the part instead, with Marni Nixon dubbing over her singing voice.

9. WEST SIDE STORY’S 1961 CINEMATIC ADAPTATION SET AN ACADEMY AWARDS RECORD.

Seven months after its release, the flick brought home 10 Oscars, including Best Director, Best Cinematography, and even Best Picture. Thus, it won more than any other musical ever had in Academy Award history. As of this writing, the distinction still stands.

10. A BILINGUAL REVIVAL OPENED ON BROADWAY IN 2009.

Laurents joined forces with producers Kevin McCollum, Jeffrey Seller, and James L. Nederlander to retell the story he’d helped craft over 50 years earlier. This time, he leveled the playing field. “I thought it would be terrific if we could equalize the gangs somehow,” he explained. By letting the Sharks speak and sing in their native language during large chunks of the musical, Laurents hoped to do exactly that. Like the original, after a run in Washington, D.C. the show moved to New York, where it ran for 748 performances.

The King of the Strip: Elvis in Vegas

Although Elvis Presley would later become as influential in Las Vegas as Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack who ruled the flashy entertainment scene in the 1950s and early 1960s, Presley’s first reception in the Nevada city of garish neon, glittering showgirls, and 24-hour gambling was far from a triumph for the hip-swiveling young star from Memphis.

In fact, Elvis’ debut in the 1,000-seat showroom of the refurbished New Frontier casino on April 23, 1956 was a flop. Backed by his three-piece group, guitarist Scotty Moore, bassist Bill Black, and drummer D.J. Fontana, Presley performed a 12-minute set consisting of just four songs – “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Long Tall Sally,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” and “Money Honey”.

The critics were savage. “Elvis Presley, coming in on a wing of advance hoopla, doesn’t hit the mark here,” wrote the critic for Variety. “For the teenager, he’s a whiz; for the average Vegas spender, a fizz”.

Meanwhile Newsweek contended the 21-year-old rock and roller was “like a jug of corn liquor at a champagne party”.

However, 13 years later, when Presley returned, he initiated a casino career that would make him a Vegas legend, transform the way entertainment was presented in the city, and create a local industry of Elvis impersonators and Presley-themed wedding chapels that is still operating today.

In his latest book, Elvis in Vegas: How the King Reinvented the Vegas Show, author Richard Zoglin details Presley’s casino showroom concerts that helped revitalize his career, as well as those near his death that demonstrated what a bloated, tragic figure the King of Rock, who died at age 42, had become.

“Elvis had a huge impact on Las Vegas,” writes Zoglin. “It raised the stakes, both in terms of money (his $125,000-a-week salary was a record at the time, soon to be surpassed) as well as production scale and promotional hype.” It also attracted a new breed of middle-class, mom-and-pop pilgrims from Presley’s vast, now multi-generational fan base, who traveled to see the King as well as play the slots. Vegas began to shed its seedy mobster trappings and morph into a family-friendly destination spot with a corporate sheen”.

In a review of Zoglin’s book in The Wall Street Journal, Eddie Dean says while Elvis definitely benefitted from his residencies, Las Vegas might have been even a bigger winner. “Las Vegas may have gotten more in the bargain than did its most enduring celebrity, who is still a presence there: from the scores of Elvis impersonators to shrines like the Graceland Wedding Chapel, where fans the world over come to tie the knot”. 

So what is Presley’s true Vegas legacy? In Zoglin’s view, it’s the way he opened up Sin City to a broader range of music styles and ultimately to a new sort of spectacle. “Elvis created the model for a different kind of Vegas show: no longer an intimate nightclub encounter for an audience of a few hundred, but a big-star extravaganza, playing to thousands,” Zoglin contends.

My Ultimate Elvis Live Show

  • That’s All Right
  • Trouble/Guitar Man
  • Heartbreak Hotel
  • Runaway
  • Polk Salad Annie
  • Return to Sender
  • Hard Headed Woman
  • Little Sister
  • The Wonder of You
  • A Big Hunk o’Love
  • I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
  • You Gave Me a Mountain
  • Fever
  • T-R-O-U-B-L-E
  • In the Ghetto
  • Suspicious Minds
  • Burning Love
  • A Little Less Conversation
  • If I Can Dream
  • Hound Dog
  • Jailhouse Rock

Green Tambourine Beats Out Bubble Gum Pop in ’67

When The Lemon Pipers recorded and released their simple, psychedelic tribute to a street busker, they had no idea the success of their single would start a music genre. But it did. Music critics hail (or decry, depending on taste) “Green Tambourine” as the first #1 hit in the world of bubblegum pop, a category still used to describe songs created to appeal to pre- and very young teenagers. 

Released in November of 1967, “Green Tambourine” reached the No. 1 sport on the Billboard Hot 100 in the first week of February, 1968 and remained on the chart for three more months. The song was written by Brill Building writers Paul Leka and Shelley Pinz. It tells the story of a street musician banging his tambourine and pleading for money (“Give me pennies, I’ll take anything”) in return for performing “any song you want I’ll gladly play.”  

Leka produced the song, which obviously included a prevalent tambourine. It also featured two signatures of the psychedelic sound, which exploded across America after the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival – an electric sitar and heavy tape echo applied to the word play in each chorus (Now listen while I play play play play play play my green tambourine.) 

In producing “Green Tambourine,” Leka established a bubblegum practice where the producer called all the shots in the studio, with the musicians simply following instructions in an assembly-line process. One of the best examples of this is the story of music publisher Don Kirshner, a major force behind the made-for-TV band The Monkees. The band rebelled against Kirchner’s strict creative control and NBC fired him in 1967. Seeking revenge, Kirshner came up with a cartoon band called The Archies based on the Archie comic series. That group’s single “Sugar, Sugar” held the top chart spot in 1969 for four weeks and is considered the epitome of bubblegum music. 

The Lemon Pipers’ song was the first bubblegum hit for the Buddha label, which soon became a major home for bubblegum artists. The band attempted to repeat the success of “Green Tambourine” but their two other singles “Rice Is Nice” (#46) and “Jelly Jungle” (#51) fell far short in that attempt.  

Here is the Billboard Top Ten the week “Green Tambourine captured the top spot: 

  1. Green Tambourine 
  2. Judy is Disguise (with Glasses) – John Fred and His Playboy Band
  3. Chain of Fools – Aretha Franklin
  4. Spooky – The Classics IV
  5. Bend Me, Shape Me – The American Breed
  6. Woman, Woman, – Gary Puckett and the Union Gap
  7. Love Is Blue – Paul Mariat and His Orchestra
  8. Nobody But Me – Human Beinz  
  9. Goin’ Out of My Head/Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You – The Lettermen
  10. I Wish It Would Rain – The Temptations 

9 Things You Might Not Know About The Lemon Pipers and “Green Tambourine” 

  1. The Lemon Pipers were a much heavier band than their bubblegum efforts would show. They first gained notoriety in 1967 by losing out in the finals of the Ohio Battle of the Bands in Cleveland to current Eagles’ guitarist Joe Walsh’s then-band The James Gang. 
  2. The group once made an appearance on a bill at Bill Graham’s Fillmore West with Traffic, Spirit, and Moby Grape. 
  3. The band left the Buddha label in 1969. It appeared in various reformations for the next few decades. 
  4. Three members of the original band – guitarist Bill Bartlett, keyboardist Reg Nave, and bassist Steve Walmsley – had further chart success in 1977 when they reworked an old Lead Belly song “Black Betty” and released it under the name Ram Jam. 
  5. In 1968, a cover of “Green Tambourine” was included on the Lawrence Welk and His Orchestra’s album Love Is Blue. The single reached No. 27 on Billboard’s Easy Listening Chart. 
  6. The song was featured in a TV commercial for the Plymouth Road Runner in 1970. 
  7. Robert Goulet, who provided the singing voice for the character Mikey, covered the song for the 2001 film Recess: School’s Out.      
  8. Actor Billy Bob Thornton, as the character Lorne Malvo, plays the song at the beginning of Episode 9 “A Fox, a Rabbit, and a Cabbage” of the TV series Fargo
  9. Paul Leka, who wrote the music for “Green Tamborine,” had one other hit – “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” for a group he made up entitled Steam. You’ve been hearing that song at all types of sporting events for almost 50 years. 

From Ape to Angel: Even After More Than 50 Years, 2001: A Space Odyssey Can Still Amaze

Since its debut in 1968, science-fiction enthusiasts and fans of great films have been debating the meaning of the epic movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, a joint project from renowned movie director Stanley Kubrick and famed novelist Arthur C. Clarke.

That’s why many of them were hoping with the 2018 release of his book, Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece, which celebrates the enigmatic film’s 50thanniversary, author Michael Benson would finally provide definitive answers to their questions.

However, despite years of researching, Benson readily admits he still isn’t certain exactly what Kubrick and Clarke were trying to say in their “implicit rather explicit” film.

“It is a masterwork of oblique visceral and intuited meanings which permits every viewer to project his or her own understanding on it. And that’s an important reason for the film’s enduring power and relevance,” Benson says.

In 1968, Kubrick claimed he wanted audiences “to pay attention with their eyes” as they viewed his epic, evolutionary journey of humans from “ape to angel.

”The director likened his and Clarke’s work more to a painting than a regular film, an idea solidified by the fact the 142-minute film contains less than 40 minutes of dialogue. The dialogue-free imagistic story telling is a non-verbal, more akin to a musical masterpiece than a typical film” Benson writes in the forward to his 497-page opus.

When it was released 50 years ago, the film was initially dismissed as incomprehensible. But it quickly found favor with hipper elements of the Baby Boom generation, who were looking to drugs and ancient Eastern philosophies to take them on an inner journey and viewed the film as a similar attempt to grasp the complexities of an even more mind-boggling universe.

Soon it began receiving critical praise as well. Today, it is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential films ever made. 2001 was named the number 1 science fiction movie of all-time by the American Film Institute (AFI). It was also listed as number 15 on the AFI’s “100 Years, 100 Movies” list. In 1991, the film was deemed “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Now I don’t pretend to be an expert on 2001, but I have seen the film a half-dozen times in my life, first as a 16-year old when it was released and most recently as a 66-year-old at a recent viewing at the Smithsonian Museum of American History which was followed by an engaging, thought-provoking talk by Benson.

So, after five decades, what do I feel certain in saying about the film?

First, as its title implies, it is a saga about a journey, one loosely informed by Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey, a sequel to his equally famous The Iliad. While The Iliadis about the fall of Troy, The Odysseyconcerns the 10-year, action-packed journey of one of the greatest surviving Greek warriors, Ulysses, as he struggles to return to his kingdom in Ithaca. But while Homer’s tale was bound by the limited knowledge of the ancient world, 2001tackles the vastness of interplanetary, interstellar, and intergalactic space with a fantastic adventure encompassing 400 million years of human evolution from howling apes discovering that bones could be weapons of death to the fictional rebirth of a sole surviving space explorer as a new superhuman “star child.”

Other borrowings from Homer abound in the film. For example, the astronaut hero is named Dave Bowman, a not-so-subtle reference to the fact the Ulysses used a bow and arrows to vanquish the suitors for his wife Penelope when he finally made it home.

But the greatest homage to Homer is the fact that the eerily calm-speaking, yet decidedly evil rogue super-computer Bowman must “kill” in the film is represented by a glaring single eye, echoing the central characteristic of the mighty, one-eyed Cyclops Ulysses must overcome in his journey.

There is no question that Kubrick and Clarke were determined to offer their story of human evolution in mythic terms and were steeped in the ideas of author Joseph Campbell’s seminal work The Hero with a Thousand Faces. In his book, Campbell contends that rite of passage for any mythological hero encompasses “separation-initiation-return,” a sequence which perfectly captures the tale of both Ulysses and Bowman.

Much of the mystery of the movie comes from the giant black monoliths – the first seen in the opening scene with the apes. Another black monolith, later discovered buried on the moon, proves the finding that launches Bowman and his fellow astronauts (who like Ulysses’ men do not survive) on their incredible journey to Jupiter and beyond. Here, I concur with the belief the monoliths are the creations of a super-alien race, which like the overlord gods of ancient Greek legend, has continued to have a hand on affairs on Earth.

Of course, the biggest impact of the film rests in its visually spellbinding scenes, which can still astound today. From the disturbing appearance of the murderous apes to the various spaceflights to the lobotomization of HAL-9000 (‘I’m sorry Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that”) to the final strange, abstract “Star Gate” sequence where Bowman ages, only to finally materialize as an ethereal, floating fetus, the film offers an experience which has yet to be duplicated even with our modern technological advances.

There is no question 2001deals with some of the major issues of modernity including evolution, the benefits and perils of technology, artificial intelligence, space exploration, and the concept of God. However, the film poses more questions than it answers.

In fact, the lasting brilliance of Kubrick’s and Clarke’s creation is it allows us to make our own decisions of meaning, much as in our actual lives we must weigh the possibility of human transformation through technology against the warnings of the dangers of that same technology.

Therein lies much of the disagreement about the film. Some viewers regard the film – especially its ending – as an optimistic statement of humanity. Others argue the film is a pessimistic account of human nature and humanity’s future.

But in the end, this is exactly what Kubrick desired from his masterpiece.

In 1968, he told a Playboy magazine interviewer: “You’re free to speculate as you wish about the philosophical and allegorical meaning of the film – and such speculation is one indication it has succeeded in gripping the audience at a deep level – but I don’t want to spell out a verbal road map for 2001 that every viewer will feel obligated to pursue or else fear he’s missed the point.”

And so, if its first 50 years are an indication, it appears that unlike Ulysses’ travels in the ancient Odysseywhich did finally conclude, the journey depicted in 2001: A Space Odysseywill continue as long as there are questioning humans on Earth, enticing planets to visit, and bright stars to light the sky.

If you have seen 2001: A Space Odysseywhat do you think of the film – is it optimistic about the future of humanity or a warning about the dangers of technology? What impact did it have on you as a viewer?

15 Facts About 2001You May Not Know

  • During the development of the movie, Kubrick and Clarke humorously referred to their project as How the Solar System Was Won, a play on the title of the 1962 western epic How the West Was Won.
  • The first working title of the film was Project: Space. Other temporary titles included Across the Sea of Stars, Universe, Tunnel to the Stars, Earth Escape, Jupiter Window, Farewell to Earth, Planetfall, andJourney Beyond the Stars.
  • Just before NASA’s Mariner 4spacecraft passed Mars in July 1965, a worried Kubrick attempted to take out an insurance policy with Lloyd’s of London – in case the actual discovery of extraterrestrial life ruined the plot of his movie.
  • Stanley Kubrick and lead actors Keir Dullea and Garyn Lockwood were all afraid of flying, with each traveling to England for the filming by ship.
  • Kubrick couldn’t come up with a way to depict his concept of how the film’s hero should make contact with extraterrestrial life, so he contacted noted author/astrophysicist Carl Sagan for help. Sagan said the best solution would be to suggest, rather than explicitly display, the alien beings.
  • Initially, for the opening scene with the apes, Kubrick auditioned actors and dancers to portray the chattering band. Finally, he decided to recruit 20 mimes for his apes. Two live chimpanzees were also used.
  • To portray as much reality as possible, Kubrick hired German-born designer Harry Lange, who had previously worked at NASA as the head of its futures projects section and Frederick Ordway, NASA’s former chief of space information systems and a scientist who helped develop the Saturn V rocket.
  • The scene where Bowman deactivates HAL, who is singing “Daisy Bell” was inspired by a visit Clarke made to Bell Labs in the early 60’s to see a demonstration of an IBM 704 computer singing the same song.
  • There has long been a belief that HAL is a sly reference to IBM, since each letter in the malevolent computer’s name is one alphabetical letter away from the letters in the computer company’s name.
  • HAL 9000 is often quoted as saying “Good morning, Dave,” but he never actually says that in the film.
  • Due to Kubrick’s perfectionism, 2001would up being $4.5 million over its original budget and was completed 16 months behind schedule.
  • Reactions to the premieres in Washington, D.C. and New York City were so negative that 241 people walked out of the New York showing, an exodus that reduced co-creator Clarke in tears.
  • Famous science fiction writers of the time were divided over the movie. Ray Bradbury and Lester Del Ray felt it lacked humanity, while Isaac Asimov and Samuel B. Delaney were greatly impressed.
  • Special photographic supervisor Douglas Trumball has said the total footage shot was about 200 times the length of the one-hour-and-42-minute film.
  • Some conspiracy theorists who believe the 1969 Apollo moon landing was faked contend that the footage of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin was actually directed by Kubrick using leftover filmed scenes from

Here’s A Free Lunch If the Idea of Eating Insects Doesn’t Bug You

This article 1st appeared in The Prices Do DC 6.16.2014

The 2 young women, dressed in fashionable summer DC office attire, looked down at the red napkin being held in front of them. The napkin contained today’s featured appetizers – Mexican spice mealworms, roasted mealworms, roasted crickets, and roasted locusts.

“How do they taste?” one of the women asked, making a face. “Are they yucky?”

“No, they are really crispy. And salty,” the man replied before slipping a small handful of the insects into his mouth.

Such conversations were the order of the day yesterday on the outdoor dining patio of the Occidental Seafood and Grill on Pennsylvania Avenue, which was serving as the site of a 3-hour, pop-up Pestaurant offering a menu consisting entirely of cooked insects.

The event, which was titled “Pestaurant on Pennsey,” was sponsored by Ehrlich, a DC-area pest control company. The 1st  Pestaurant event was held last year in London. This year the DC lunch at the Occidental was one of 12 locations around the globe that were offering insect dining.

Company officials said that one reason for the worldwide event was to try to make bugs and insects a little more appetizing to the general public. A 2013 report from the Unite Nations called consumer disgust “one of the largest barriers to the adoption of insects as viable sources of protein in many Western countries”. It also named “insect farming” as a potential way to “address food and feed insecurity” across the world.

But the free fun afternoon lunch also had a more immediate social impact. Erlich donated $5 to DC Central Kitchen, an organization which feeds the homeless and the poor, for every person who sampled bugs from the 3 insect-laden tables.

On the savory table, the wait staff was serving roasted crickets, Mexican spice mealworms, roasted mealworms, buffalo worms, and roasted locusts. On the sweet table, the offerings included scorpion lollipops, chocolate ant rounds,  mealworm lollipops, ant candy, and ant and cricket lollipops.

But, by far, the biggest culinary hit of the afternoon was the tasty grasshopper burgers created by Occidental executive chef Rodney Scruggs. He said his burgers were a combination of turkey, grasshopper, and a secret ingredient. “You always have to have a secret ingredient,” he joked. He explained that the grasshoppers used in the burgers reminded him of dry mushrooms. “I could see them pairing well with a really old wine,” Scruggs said. The chef explained that after much consultation dried grasshoppers were added to give the burger “a little extra crunch.” He said that since grasshoppers are a staple south of the border, he topped his creation off with a special salsa.

As television, print, and online cameramen recorded the scene, Scruggs said the environmental and charitable focus of the event appealed to the restaurant. “It’s for good causes, but it’s playful, fun, and whimsical, too,” he said. “It’s really a win-win for everyone”.