Thursday, July 13, 2006

The best "reader" feed-back

I write for love not money. I love my friends. Here's a comment I treasure.

I had no idea you are such a good poet. I love your blog. I laughed and I
cried and I saw your inside. Thank you.

More on The Phantom of the Opera

Part IV

An important part of the media, is realizing the power it has over people's minds. Psychologically and even physiologically.

It's a known fact that music with a certain tempo (60 beats per minute) can put a person's mind into a mild state of altered consciousness. It seems to reach the mind at an unconscious or subliminal level, opening up the subconscious (perhaps) for easier absorption of stimuli and information.

If you know this, you can use this type of music to open your creative talents and write more easily from a subconscious level, if you happen to be a composer or an artist for instance.

But I noticed that certain songs from The Phantom of the Opera were subtly programming the minds of some viewers. Whether it was the beat of the music or the over-all emotionality of the movie scene, or a clever arrangement of words, this may explain why so many people were effected by the movie and the music.

Consider the lines in The Phantom of the Opera theme that the Phantom and Christine sing together (number 5 on the official CD.)

The Phantom of the Opera is now inside your/my mind.

So, getting hooked on the movie and the music and even the actor might have been a result of subliminal hypnotism.

They are certainly in my mind!! How about you?

Use the hyperlink on the sidebar to see Gerard Butler's Fan Website.

And use the convenient Amazon icon on my site to find the Phantom of the Opera movies, books, CDs, DVD's etc.

For information about the movie, click on:

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Phantom of the Opera III

The actor Gerard Butler as he did NOT appear in the movie. He can squeeze my neck anytime!

Continued: Please read Part I and Part II first. Thanks.
Of course, as in all good melodramas, the phantom runs off with the girl, but she's rescued by her true love.

Only there’s a twist in this particular ending. The phantom, after kidnapping her, gives Christine the choice of letting her “lover” live (there was only implied sexual attraction in this movie, no actual sex. As Jack Sparrow said in Dead Man’s Chest, “There will be no “knowing” here.) If she stays with the Phantom, he will not kill her true love Raoul. (If she leaves with Raoul, the Phantom will kill Raoul anyway and maybe her, too. DUH.) I will have to give the heroine credit for having a great deal of intelligence in reasoning this out. In so many movies the characters make the mistake of following their hearts when they know it will lead to their own destruction. People aren’t really that stupid. (Are they?)

Christine, loving Raoul, wants to save him. At the same time, she’s loved the Phantom for years since she was a young orphan. This love isn’t easily tossed away. Her compassion, too, comes into play. She chooses to stay with the Phantom, not only as “a sacrifice” to save Raoul, but she realizes that the Phantom didn’t really intend to be “evil.” He's behaved abominably because he's in dire need of love and approval.

She sings to him, “Pitiful creature of darkness, what kind of life have you known? God give me courage to show you, you are not alone.” This indicates that Christine’s love is a spiritual love. I believe, against her own better judgment, she had to admit she really did love him even if it is only as one human being loves another with human compassion.

She approaches the fearsome Phantom with his disfigured face just as he becomes exhausted with his own rage and confused desperation. And she kisses him! And he lets her. And he kisses her back.

(The lucky girl has an on-screen kiss with Gerard Butler.)

This kiss is what I didn’t understand in the stage play. In the movie the purpose is obvious. She chooses to show this “evil” man with a “suffering inner child,” compassion and unconditional love.

This is the Phantom’s undoing. You can read it on his face. You can see the battle that’s going on inside of him. The veil is lifted from his dark, twisted understanding…he feels unconditional love coming from Christine—something he has never felt in his entire life not even from himself or from God (whom he’s rejected, not vice versa, I am sure.) And he suddenly realizes that he could have had Christine’s love if he had not been controlling, domineering and murderous. His attitude of jealousy and possessiveness has driven her away! He realizes, too late, he’s ruined his own chances with his own behavior.

Not only that, but his heart is opened at that moment and he feels "real" love—unselfish, true, caring, deep inner love that Christine has shown to him. He can no longer keep her captive at the mercy of his possessive love. He truly loves her unselfishly when he allows her to leave and frees her to go with the man that's best for her, Raoul.

Of course, the Phantom (who never was given name in the movie to make him less than human?) is still caught in habitual self-hatred. With a sudden awareness that he's to blame for all his own misery in life, that it's not his deformity that caused it entirely, and the fact that with his talents and intelligence, he could have overcome his appearance by merely making different choices in life, he smashes the mirrors in horror. (Too bad there weren't 12-step programs back in those days to help set oneself aright, huh? Thank God there is now.)

Can you imagine the towering regret he must have felt when he realized that Christine’s love had been within his reach, and, with his own selfish, hateful ways he prevented himself from having that? It’s heartbreaking. (Reminder to myself: take Kleenexes to the theater on Oct. 28.)

So you see, the millions of women that fell in-love with the Phantom, perhaps were and are the women who have fallen for the “bad boy” in their lives—you know “the suffering child-man" who is his own worst enemy. They're the neediest, most pathetic of men that could be heros if only they would realize it, damn it! We women who have fallen in love with the wrong man, perhaps married him (and reproduced male children with him, for godsake; forgive me, world) and suffered for it, do understand the love for this Phantom character.

We have, like the Phantom, regretted causing our own suffering in life with our own delusions, i.e., thinking that the love of “a good woman” can change a defective man into what he ought to be and what he could be. (Forgetting that what he is and what he chose to be are out of our control and out of his own control, too.)

Most of us realize these things in life too late to fix the past, hopefully not preventing us from going on and having a better future, if we live long enough to become wise. (I know I have and I’m married to a wonderful, regular, ordinary, nice guy, now.)

The ring in the movie symbolizes this revolutionary story resolution perfectly. Raoul gave the ring to Christine as a symbol of their commitment. She's reluctant to wear it on her finger for everyone to see, because she’s afraid to let anyone know, especially the Phantom. Basically no one wants that happiness for her—marriage and family, except Raoul--and she wants to protect her dream. The Phantom wants to own her--body and soul--and the opera house wants to own her career and so keep her single and singing.

The Phantom appears at the masquerade ball where everyone else is attempting to hide behind masks just as he has done his whole life. There he snatches the ring from her. Only he can’t take away the love she has for Raoul—the ring is only a symbol of it. A hollow victory for him.

Later, he gives Christine the very same ring, and insists she wear it as a token of his ownership and love. She puts it on when she acquiesces to his demand she stay with him in the underground lair.

When he releases her, she returns it to him. The Phantom gave it as a show of power over her and as a blow against Raoul’s love for her, but when she gave it back she returns his love. This can be taken two ways—she hands his love back to him (refusing it) or she gives it as a symbol of her continuing love for him.

At the same time, when she gives the ring back, she’s accepting the Phantom's "gift." This is the ultimate gift her can give besides desiring, admiring and loving her--that is: loving her enough to let her go and be happy with Raoul.

At the very end of the movie, the ring turns up on Christine’s grave years and years later. On the same day that the Viscount puts the Phantom's monkey-music-box on her grave (symbolic of his surrender to Christine's love for the Phantom,) the Phantom puts the ring on the grave with his rose. (Red roses symbolize never-ending love.) With this, he shows his surrender to Christine's love for Raoul. Therefore, it's "a gentlemen’s agreement," after the fact, that they both loved her and admitted that she did, indeed, love both of them. (Again Susan Kaye's novel Phantom develops this concept a good deal more.

I have probably put this crudely, but the screenplay was magnificent with symbolism. It has given me much to marvel at over the past year or more.

When a group of individuals band their creative talents and powers into a collaboration and work of art such as this, the work becomes an entity of its own. It has a sum total much, much greater than the individual parts and even the group effort or final product. I believe this story is a genuine modern myth that will become part of our culture for years and years to come.

I would like to see it shown in movie theaters on a regular basis someday, just as The Rocky Horror Picture Show has become a cult movie showing, appearing in theaters for audience participation on Halloween all over the country. The fans of Phantom would LOVE to come to the movies at midnight, dressed as their favorite character and have a chance to sing and celebrate this exceptional phenomenon known as The Phantom of the Opera.

Thank you, all, for reading me. Best Wishes.

The Phantom of the Opera II

The Phantom of the Opera Part II—Warning: Spoiler

Please read the previous post first. Thanks.

Why millions of women fell in love with the Phantom…based on the movie with Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Many people disliked the phantom character. Let’s face it, he was a sly, deceitful murderer. He was disfigured and as mean as a hornet with his tail stuck in a screen door. He was also a talented musician and composer. He lived for his music. Until, he fell in-love with Christine. She was half his age, and he came to her as (what she thought of) as The Angel of Music that her father promised to send her from Heaven, when she was a child. (And even if you hated the Phantom, you must admit the performance given by Gerard Butler was superb. Thank you, Gerry!)

Later in the story, the Phantom refers to himself as The Angel in Hell. He was not an angel from Hell—he felt he was in Hell, having suffered all his life for the congenital deformity of his face, which nowadays we could easily correct with modern medical science. In those days, people perhaps believed that God was punishing the mother or the child for something they had “done.” Disfigurements were seen as a negative indication of a defective soul or even being “owned by the devil.” Even today, we believe those who don’t “fit-in” deserve to be teased and/or scorned for things that are obviously not of their own doing. This would echo even racial bias and prejudices that have plagued mankind for most of its existence, hatred of people because of their appearance, i.e., skin color.

The Phantom was an object of fear and hatred just because of his looks. In fiction, stress of physical appearance is indicative of a superficial value system—those who care more for appearances are, if nothing more, missing out on a deeper meaning of life, at least until they get their “Aha!’s.”

The Phantom felt unloved and unwanted, had the passionate soul of a musician, and the innate intelligence and creativity to make him a great composer. In the movie, we are shown a segment of his childhood that attempted to explain a few things, but could easily have been left out of the movie, especially since it does not appear in the original novel by Gaston Leroux. I urge those who see the movie, to ignore this scene if possible, it is not in the screenplay/musical either. A good read about the Phantom's life is Phantom by Susan Kaye.

As I said, Christine thought he was the angel of music, so she took voice lessons from the Phantom, trusting him, though never seeing him, and loving him because she thought her Father sent him (prior to the opening of the movie.) She shares the Phantom’s love of music, which bonds them together. They both have sensitive, artistic souls. (And raging hormones, at least in the movie.)

At the beginning of the movie Christine is a capable singer without an opportunity to show off her talents, actually being in the chorus line as a background dancer, or bit player. The Phantom, because of selfish reasons, plots to have her take center stage as a star. One of the lyricsis Christine singing, “I am the mask you wear,” and the Phantom singing in reply, “It’s ME they hear.” He wants his talents displayed in Christine.

At some point, the Phantom falls madly in-love with his “creation.” Here we have the Pygmalion theme…the artist Pygmalion falls in love with the statue he created in the ancient Greek myth. (This is also the theme of My Fair Lady the musical, too.)

However, as a recluse who hates people as much as they hate him, the phantom suffers from a selfish, possessive, jealous, domineering type of love. In fact, he hasn’t got a clue how to love someone, having never been loved himself. He attempts to control Christine. When the Viscount Raoul, the patron of the opera house, makes his appearance in the story as the good-looking, young, blond tenor, the phantom sings, “He was bound to love you, when he heard you sing,” he realizes that in making Christine’s singing so beautiful, he has basically given her to the Viscount to love. This is just one of the ironies that the Phantom realizes too late for his own salvation.

It is interesting to note that when the Phantom is wearing his mask, he is suave, handsome, elegant, powerful, talented and appears to be have poise and self-esteem. He seems to get a kick out of scaring people, which boosts his own arrogance. (He actually kills a couple of people in cold-blood, unemotionally, in the story, so watch out!) However, when his mask is removed, he reverts back to an almost childish stage of life, a pathetic victim displaying abject misery or overwhelming rage—both extremes of emotion. This would echo the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde symbolism, which has also been done in numerous plays and movies since Robert Lewis Stevenson wrote it. That book was undoubtedly based on a more ancient theme itself.

When the Phantom realizes he's lost Christine to Raoul, he declares “war” on both of them. But his helpless longing and distorted love for Christine will not be eradicated by intention. It basically becomes his downfall. Not because he continues with the "war" but recause his love cannot be escaped…well, let me explain further.

When he forces Christine and the rest of the opera house patrons/staff to put on his opera Don Juan Triumphant, he’s still under the illusion that he's in control of the situation—even though he knows deep inside that he's lost it and/or never really had control over anything. He has the power that he can “create” with fear--and we all know that people (especially in dramas) overcome fear as unfounded and illusory. We all know the tale of the softhearted monster being nothing more than a fake, for example in the Wizard of Oz.

In Don Juan, the Phantom hears Christine singing words of love that he places in her mouth as song lyrics he knows they’re insincere. At this point, Christine has lost all respect for him, knows he's a serious deceiver, murderer, and controlling, over-bearing monster of a person. She's afraid to get close enough to him to allow the authorities to capture him, but does it anyway because she's a pawn in in the opera's and authorities' hands, as well as in the Phantom’s hands. All she wants to do, as many a maiden has desired for eons, is to get out of the spotlight and get married and live happily ever after. This is the theme of nearly every fairy tale ever written.

So, in the middle of this “play within a play” the Phantom’s real desire comes out at the end of his duet with Christine--he sings to her the love song that Raoul sang to her earlier in the story—only his words transmit his true desperation. Instead of singing the words Raoul sang to her about wanting to love her, protect and save her from her solitude…the Phantom sings of his own wild desire for her to love him, be with him, and save him from his solitude. Cleaver reversal by the lyricist!!!

On the verge of being powerfully attracted to him again (which we know is real since the Raoul has tears in his eyes while he watches them,) Christine snatches off the Phantom's mask and reveals his true appearance to the entire opera house. The Phantom was lost in his own fantasy--the delusion that there is a future possible for him and Christine together. He blames her for betraying him, hurt & cut to the quick.

Continued in Phantom of the Opera III. Next blog

Phantom of the Opera Part I

Phantom of the Opera—May Contain Some Spoiler Information

The Phantom of the Opera, original Broadway show, is coming again to Popejoy Hall, UNM, Albuquerque, NM, in October 2006. It played here two or three years ago. From what I understood, the set took two weeks to put up, was carried in seven semi-trailers, and took two weeks to tear down and repack for the next city. It was magnificent, the lake and candles looked real. If I recall correctly there was an actual horse used on stage to carry Christine to the depths of the opera house/phantom’s lair. Unfortunately, I sat in the very back of the theater and the actors appeared to be about an inch tall. I didn’t follow the story well, because when Christine kissed the Phantom, I couldn’t figure out why. He was supposed to be horrible and evil, right?
Also, so far back in the theater, I couldn’t see the faces and I had no idea how disfigured the phantom might have looked. Oh, another thing, were the characters such fools that they couldn’t see the slender, shorter phantom take the place of the tall, heavy opera singer in Don Juan Triumphant? But basically, the musical thrilled me—the music, the set, the chandelier that came to life at the beginning and fell to the stage during the disaster scene. Oh, what can I say? It made me laugh and it made me cry especially Christine’s song in the cemetery to her late father—it was all so bittersweet. I LOVED it.

I have tickets for Oct. 28th this year. I am not sitting in the balcony again! I have orchestra seats, even if the orchestra is on tape. I have already ordered a long opera cape with a hood, black with red lining, and am shopping for the perfect dress to wear with it. I am even considering wearing a phantom mask since it is so close to Halloween. And carrying a rose with a black bow and the little rhinestone ring that looks like Christine's ring (that's featured in the movie if not the play.) Heck, if the music is loud enough, and I'm sitting close enough, I'm going to sing along, since I know all the words to the songs by now, thanks to the CD from the movie.

I understood the plot much better after I saw the movie. My brother said he and his wife went to see it at the movie theater in Dec. 2004, and it was great. They loved it. Said the music was great, the actors excellent, and the settings mind-boggling. I was still thrilled with the play and didn’t go see it on the big screen myself, telling him it couldn’t possibly be as good as the stage play!

Ha! Was I wrong! I didn't go see it on the big screen, I rented the DVD. I am now considering buying a big screen television so I can see it lifesized. (Heck, I wish it was on Virtual Reality machine.)

Now, I understand, the whole Phantom of the Opera phenomenon is as amazing as it was unexpected and unexplainable! First of all, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Joel Schumacher wanted a young cast. They wanted to show this as a love story, a triangle with people young enough to show the passion and romance that they had written into and directed into the screenplay.

The movie was a bit ambiguous as far as marketing. A lot of people didn’t like it, some even told me they got up and walked out of the movie theaters!

People wanted it to be more like the stage play/musical, perhaps. Or they expected a horror movie and it wasn’t. Some wanted opera music and thought it had too much rock music tempo. Those that wanted more pop or rock music were turned off by the Broadway tunes and some of the songs, which bordered on the operatic. (Webber himself said he considered it more of a rock opera.) A lot of people didn’t like the Phantom himself. After all, he was a bad guywith serious anger management problems that crossed the line into murderous; and the character was portrayed perhaps as a sympathetic tortured soul, which turned a lot of people off. (Gerard Butler, the movie phantom, said he thought it was tragically sad even thought they kept urging him to play it "sexy.")

The most amazing phenomenon that couldn’t be predicted was the huge, vast masses of women that fell in love with the actor Gerard Butler. If you don't know by now, he’s a Scottish actor, former drunken rock singer, and actor in many B- and violent action movies, who did the whole Phantom (he sang not only his songs but his lines as well) in a broad upper crust British accent, which is not his usual way of speaking being from Paisley. And, if truth be told, he's really not all that good looking or outstanding as an actor. (For instance I saw him in other movies and didn’t even notice him.) However, once we fans got a taste of him in Phantom, we were swept away with his--what ever it is --"IT"--that can't possibly be explained by using the word "attractiveness." (What a mundane word for such a colossal experience.)

But I am one of the women who fell madly in-love with the 36-year old actor. Actually, he was only 34 when the movie was filmed, the co-star playing Christine being only 16 at that time. She was half his age, and therefore the illusion of the Phantom being much older than Christine was maintained. I thought Gerry was older and told one of my friends I finally had a favorite movie star that wasn't young enough to be my son. And she informed me that was sure wrong. (I have two sons older than Gerry Butler.)

There was something in Gerry Butler’s performance that captured heart and soul of viewers. He threw his own heart and soul (as well as his whole magnificient physique) into his singing and performance and it showed. He doesn’t appear entirely comfortable in some scenes, but he radiated a certain who-knows-what that just amazed and overwhelmed the viewers, some more than others!

Many women also fell in love with the Phantom character, seeing him portrayed as a suffering villian/hero who had serious psychological problems that could be forgiven, so to speak, because of his miserable life of being abused and mistreated as a freak simply because of a congenital disfigurement. As a result he was a talented and spectacular person who didn't know it, and had terrible self-esteem and an extremely big chip on his shoulder.

Actually, Andrew Lloyd Webber was a genius with this screenplay, putting layer and layer of meaning and symbolism into the musical and the character(s.) He went well beyond the orignal story by Gaston Leroux, which is good read if you happen to run across a good translation of it. It was written in French.

I rented the DVD of the movie first, then went and bought the CD with original songs from the movie that I play nearly non-stop on my car CD player. (I like to sing when I'm commuting on the long drive from the mountains to town. I guess the other drivers think I'm yelling at them.)

I then bought the movie and watched it a number of times. In fact, the first time I saw the movie, I back-tracked the DVD and played the scene where the Phantom sings Music of the Night to Christine in a very sexy, passionate, beautiful way. (Why are there no words that indicate something much more fabulous than “beautiful.” It was overwhelming.) I watched it over and over about 25 times. I thought at the time that it was the absolute best "love scene" ever put on film. At the end of all that, needless to say, I was a hopeless pile of melted putty in the Phantom’s hands.

In a later post I will explain the depth of the character of the Phantom and why he touched so many hearts, and how that occurred. Not to mention explaining why it made Gerard Butler, while still not well-known, a very much loved and exciting international actor.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

An old poem

I found a poem I typed on an old portable typewriter. Good grief, you can't even get ribbons for them anymore. Thank God for computers. However, it must have been back in the early nineties when we first moved here and someone gave me an old typewriter because we didn't have electricity (or running water, or a house, in fact) when we first moved here. I didn't miss television as much as I thought I would. What I missed the most in our pioneering days when were first started building the house, was ICE CUBES.

Well, here i'tiz.


We look for wisdom
Every night
On channel 7
We watch the news
But it's nothing new
We search for answers
With our remote controls
And we're all together
And still looking
We can't see the people for the crowds
Too bad
We spell life:

Well, not really. But I was more of a cynic when I first started my writing career, less of a romantic like I am now.

By the way, I write spicy romances under my pen name. If you are interested, send me a comment and I'll clue you in. I have a short e-book coming out July 9.

Love, Sandy

Monday, July 03, 2006

More Fibonaccis

More Fibonaccis July 1, 2006 Sandy Schairer: Poet

Over now.
Face the week and see
What will it bring besides boredom?
Being busy beyond human endurance, no doubt.

Poems have
You written today?

Senior Power

Senior Power

Am I a magician?

I am very good at
disappearing things
I set them down and

This results in me spending
Too much time

I can look at things
And not see them too

Is the magic in me
Or them?

Home in Space

Home in Space

Beautiful blue and white ball
Rolling through the black crystal myst of space
Billions of dots of suns with
Invisible planets and moons.

Are you there?
Do you wonder about me?
As I wonder about you?
Up in your night sky
An invisible dot of dust.

Do you think, do you feel,
Do you laugh?
Feel you love and hurt?
Do you worship the same Gods?

Are we really alone,
Or all one?
We shall never meet.
We shall never speak.
But we shall know
Because we answer