Take This Tune

Posted: Monday, January 10, 2011 by Travis Cody in

My pal Jamie from Duward Discussion has reintroduced her wonderful meme.  Take This Tune provides a musical prompt each week, usually a video with the song lyrics.  The task is to write something inspired by the song or something in the lyrics.

This week's prompt is Big City Blues, recalling the making of 2:00 AM Paradise Cafe, a jazz album created by Barry Manilow and some great jazz musicians and vocalists.

I've never lived in a big city.  I was born in a San Francisco Bay Area suburb called Redwood City.  I was raised in and around Bay Area small cities, and then finally finished out junior high and high school in a small cow town in the central San Joaquin Valley of California.

From there I lived in the high dessert to the north of Los Angeles before settling in just outside of Seattle in the pacific northwest.

All of that from birth until today encompassed more than 25 different moves to apartments, houses, townhouses, and condos along the way.

I'm actually a little bit nervous in big cities.  I don't know that I could live in one.  I kind of like being just outside of a big city, in a suburb.  I'm not a rural kind of guy though.  Country living doesn't appeal to me much.

The thing I like most about living near a big city is access to theatre.  I'm not talking about movies.  I mean live theatre, whether plays or musicals, with sets and costumes and the immediacy of moments enacted on stage in front of me.

I've been to New York and seen two shows on Broadway.  It is one of the high lights of my life.  I hope to do so again.  I saw the musicals Chicago and Lion King on the Great White Way.

In San Francisco I saw Phantom of the Opera, with the amazing Franc D'Ambrosio in the title role.  I saw another performance of the Phantom story in Santa Barbara, as well as a production of Titanic the Musical.

In LA I had the great pleasure of seeing Alan Alda on stage, with Alfred Molina and Victor Garber in a play called ART.  I also saw Brian Dennehy in Death of a Salesman.  There were so many good shows I saw at the Ahmanson Theatre, which is in the LA Music Center.  That's the home of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion where the Oscars are often held, as well as the Mark Taper Forum and the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

There was a season of Shakespeare at a small theatre in Glendale CA, led by a fine production of one of my all time favorite plays, King Lear.  I also saw an amazing performance of West Side Story with few props on a small round stage, with the seats rising from it.  The cast entered through the aisles.  It was marvelous.

Last May, Pam and I went to see Taylor Hicks as Teen Angel in Grease at The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle.  That led to our subscription to the 2010-11 season.  We saw In the Heights in November and then last month we saw the new musical A Christmas Story.  The rest of our season includes Vanities: A New Musical, 9 to 5 The Musical, Guys and Dolls, and Oklahoma!.

I like the things big cities have to offer, most especially theatre, but also museums and fine dining and jazz clubs, and so many other interesting things you don't find anywhere else. 


  1. Akelamalu says:

    I was born and lived in a city until I was 12 years old then moved to a small town. I prefer the town. :)

  1. Jamie says:

    I know how you feel about being on the edge of a big city. Youth was on the edge of LA. Having access to live theater was the best thing about it. Every once in a while I fantasize about a year in New York because of all the theater and music, but then I think of the density of the people and cringe a bit.

    Mine is up.

  1. Never lived in or near a city until I moved to the New Orleans area. I like having a city relatively close because of some of the reasons you mention, but most of the time I want to be in the country.

  1. I have lived in Manhattan, on Long Island, outside Boston, A few towns in New Jersey, East Memphis and now a suburb of that, Olive Branch.

    Having the arts close by has been something I have always desired.

    I don't think I could live so far outside a major city that it would take more than an hour or so to drive in the evening (not going to talk about rush hours!)

    Excellent post Sir