“Connor and Jayden”, cis white gay male short film (and now that seems remarkable)

West Hollywood clubs, 2012-5

Here’s a tempting short film on YouTube, “Connor & Jayden: the Story of Us”, 32 minutes, 2022, written and directed by Jerome Elston Scott, from Harbor Heights Entertainment.

Connor and Jayden

Connor Tucker (Christian Barba), a high school football star, has a broken leg, and not allowed to play for the rest of the season.  He might lose a chance for a college football scholarship for bad luck. He signs up for a cooking class and meets Jayden Sansbury (Ty Newcomb). Jayden is supposed to be the school patsy, except that he really isn’t.

They start a friendship, and then one morning Jayden helps Cannon get his car started by tinkering under the hood, his hands staying clean. The friendship grows.  Jayden challenges Connor to a movie “date” and Connor professes ignorance of movie start times, which carries on with the ticket seller Cameron (Troy Hatt – is the character inspired by “Cam”, or Cameron Kasky?) It seems like an artificial ruse, but the friendship grows intimate, though it never quite crosses the line in the film.

So it’s refreshing to see cis male gay men in a short film again, in all these days of critical gender theory. 

But the movie never quite follows the normal story circle ideas in screenwriting.  Connor has already paid his heavy price – he broke his leg.  At least he didn’t go through the horrors of Washington (now Commanders) quarterback Alex Smith who almost wound up with an amputation,  A scene in the movie’s middle shows him without a cast and hairy leg (in shorts) as if nothing had ever happened. So a few months have past and it is mild Los Angeles winter.

Beyond the LGBT subject matter here, it’s interesting to wonder something about writing movie scripts with protagonists who are generally successful teens in high school, college, or some career (like YouTubing).  When does the teen “pay a price” when he (she/e) gets what e wants.  Sometimes leaving the college experience is a price.  Sometimes leaving college sports when there will not be a career in sports is a price. Sometimes it is losing a potential love interest.  First breakups are always difficult.  Often in the past the “want” was to get into the best school.  Today’s kids want more agency sooner, and you start to see a lot of gap years (to grow YouTube channels). 

The distributor also offers cast interviews (the interviewer is black) and audition sessions for the movie on YouTube.

(Posted: Monday, June 20, 2022 at 10 PM EDT)

Does the MLB July 31 (trading) deadline cause some teams to tank (like the Washington Nationals this year)?

Nationals Park 2019-6 White Sox in town, Nats won 9-5

The Washington Nationals avoided a five-game sweep at home by the Philadelphia Phillies, when one of their new pitchers came through for them with seven innings of no earned runs.  (Near the end of the 2019 season the Nats had swept the Phillies at home in a 5-game series.)

But the team is struggling with a 24-46 record, the worst in baseball, and has really tanked.  

Actually, they tied two previous games in the bottom of the ninth and lost in extra innings.  The pandemic-era rule of starting extra innings with a runner on 2nd helps stronger teams, especially on the road, if they have better bullpens.

On Friday, June 17, the Nationals had (and lost both ends of) a double-header with a ceremony honoring retired #11 player Ryan Zimmerman who played for the team for 17 years (and won the home opener in the new stadium in 2008 with a walkoff home run). Zimmerman was known for hitting southpaw pitching hard and hitting line drives. He was capable of hitting opposite field homers and tape-measure jobs sometimes. His personality suggests, well, a career, maybe in baseball management? or maybe running for office? How many retired professional sports champions have run for office?

What happened to at team that pulled off a miracle World Series in 2019, when the visiting team won all seven games?  (In 1991, it was the home team that did this, when the Minnesota Twins won with their homer hankies).

Some of it is COVID.  It starts with that disruption, sure.  But the biggest problem is the way the July 31 trading deadline works.  It forces teams not in contention to trade away their best players for prospects and start over.  It’s especially bad for middle market teams if they’ve had many significant injuries. 

I wonder how the effect of the deadline affected the lockout last winter, which shortened Spring Training and delayed the season a week.

In June 2021, the Nationals lost slugger Kyle Schwarber (formerly the Cubs) to a pulled hamstring.  It sounds like a foolish, trivial injury, running out an infield hit.  Had that not happened they would have won more games in July and not wound up in this situation.  But on July 31, they traded Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Some of the prospects (especially Gray) seem promising and maybe after a year of experience in the Majors more of them will be competitive when matched against more experienced teams.

Strasburg hasn’t pitched much since 2019. We’re still waiting to hear from the “second opinion” in his current IL episode. But the huge commitment to a star whose career ends because of injury can cripple all but the richest teams (like the Yankees and Dodgers, always on top). It doesn’t sound like the disruptive lockout in the early spring solved this. I do remember Stephen’s first game in 2010, a 5-2 home win against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

But you can see how teams suddenly tank = like the Baltimore Orioles (lost the first 20 games in 1988) and Miami/Florida Marlins, Detroit Tigers (who won only 43 games in 2003), and Houston Astros have in the past (with Houston recovering and turning round quickly, going 51-101 in 2013, their first year in the AL, to getting into the wild card game in 2015.

Maybe pitchers should take up chess.  And so should managers.  Younger pitchers often have trouble facing a batting order the second time around in the middle innings.  That reminds me of a speed chess match online recently by international masters (and well known chess YouTube streamers) Levy Rozman and Eric Rosen.  Levy started the match well but lost several in a row as Eric figured him out in the middle of the match. Gambits do well in online speed chess.  

Ballston Quarter Arlington VA chess set, position from Two Knights Defense trap 2022-5

You could have a chess benefit, setting up mall outdoor big pieces in a pregame show and showing the board and moves on the scoreboard. Maybe a group like March for our Lives could try this with a MLB team and some chess players, or maybe a match between two chess personalities like Rozman and Rosen — showing the instructive analogy between playing chess and pitching in baseball.

(Posted: Sunday, June 19, 2022 at 11 PM EDT by John W. Boushka)

Can an experienced music composer improve the music of a younger composer?

Patuxent River, MD, daytrip today

I want to share the video “Beginner v. Pro Composer: Can You Hear the Difference?

23-year old Dutch composer Frank Rener has composed a waltz-like movement for woodwind quintet, for his girl friend Leka.  It runs about 5 minutes and could have been conceived as a movement of a multi-movement work.  It is in G Major.

British Composer David Bruce “rewrites” it with a few changes.  He gradually increases the combinations and registers of instruments during the exposition section.  He varies the passage work style and makes it a little more contrapuntal, with more augmentation and embellishment, in the B and C sections before the return to the initiation section, making it more story-like.  He does say that most composition is like “storytelling”.

Frank and Leka travel to London to hear a professional consort play the revised composition.

My own “Third Sonata”, completely sketched and maybe 80% entered into Sibelius, is more in line with his recommendations than any of my early work.  But I started composing the Sonata in Dec. 1961, after my own William and Mary expulsion, while at home, waiting to start at GWU.  It is a long journey.  It is mentioned in my latest screenplay effort inspired by the incident (and my DADT books), “Williamsburg and Charlotte, which I presented at the recent Author Solutions Pitchfest.

I could mention a 2010 composition by Timo Andres “It Takes a Long Time to Become a Good Composer“, for solo piano, based on Schumann, which I heard premiered in NYC on December 11, 2010, a few days before my own mother’s passing, writeup. (Well, it does take a long time.)

One other thing: I made an errand in the Ballston Quarter today when I returned and setup a position (Two Knights Defense), where Black is winning:

A young man came by and “challenged” me to a game. I had the W pieces. A spectator crowd accumulated as it started to rain. Here was the final position (recreated at home):

Final position, back rank threat? Or does the pin win for W?

For details check my Facebook Account today.

(Posted: Thursday, May 12, 2022 at 10 P< RFY by John W. Boushka)