Something new I’m trying. As you probably know, the title of the strip, Rhapsodies, is referring to Rhapsody: “a musical composition of irregular form having an improvisatory character.” I like that definition. It was a definition I could turn into a metaphor, a metaphor that I could use as the entire concept behind the strip.
The word, Rhapsody has several other definitions, all useful but for the time being I’ll stick to the musical definition.
When I first envisioned the concept. I didn’t have the grand concept behind the title. I chose Rhapsodies for two reasons. Reason number one was that at the time Paul was the main character, Paul was a musician so I wanted a musical title. The other reason was before I started doing it as a comic strip, I was imagining Rhapsodies as my vision of what a sitcom should be. Because of the musical theme, I imagined the credits being done to Rhapsody in Blue with a montage of clips of the setting. (In hindsight I confess I was going through a Woody Allen phase and I’d seen Manhattan one too many times) Essentially Rhapsodies was a name of convenience to label your strip with. Like “Peanuts”or “Zits”, actual relivance didn’t matter.
But as time progressed, I liked the way you could turn the musical definition of Rhapsody into a metaphor that embraced the entire strip, even the parts that had nothing to do with the music.
Getting back to the music, though I thought I would start to share some other Rhapsodies. Everything from the classics to the cutting edge. Some obvious, others pieces that were never considered rhapsodies but fit the definition perfectly.
Since I mentioned it already I thought I’d start with one of the greatest works in American music, George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.
The clip I’m using is the one from Disney’s Fantasia 2000. Compared to the original, I didn’t care for the 2000 sequel. From a technical perspective the animation and graphics were cutting edge, but otherwise I found it lacking, a prime example of form over content.
The Gershwin segment was the exception. I’ve always been a fan of Al Hirschfeld and this was a loving tribute to him. But also I liked how the story, along with Hirschfeld’s characters created a portrait of New York as seen from magazines like the New Yorker at the time.
So without further Ado George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.