Archive for Andrew Lloyd Webber

Ash Wednesday

Posted in movies, Music, Religion with tags , , on February 26, 2009 by bradellison

The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent, and hear the good news.

I’m trying to be better about observing Lent, even though as a Baptist it isn’t really required.  This year, I’m trying to give up swearing.  This means I’ll probably be saying “via,” “blood and martyrs,” “by Crom,” and “name of the devil” an awful lot over the next few weeks.

In the meantime, it’s a good time for one last bit of Jesus Christ Superstar.  The wild finish.  It ends with questions.


Did you think we were done talking about Jesus Christ Superstar?

Posted in movies, Music, Religion with tags , , on February 20, 2009 by bradellison

Because we’re not.  This here’s a straight shot of Essence of Gospel, distilled into under five minutes and jazzed up seventies-style.

See if you can spot Simon the Zealot in each clip.  “Why are you so obsessed with fighting times and fates you can’t defy?”

And ah, there’s our friend Judas, making an ass of himself.

Who are you to criticize her?
Who are are you to despise her?
Leave her leave her, let her be now!
Leave her leave her, she’s with me now!

I like that.  There’s three of my favorite Gospel stories distilled into that exchange between Jesus, Mary and Judas.  Stories that underscore Jesus’ eccentric and subversive habit of embracing the unclean.  Mystifying, indeed, but that’s the whole point.  “She doesn’t fit in well / With what you teach and say.”  I alluded last time to Judas missing the point, well here it is.  The Magdalene is what He teaches and says.

I may note in passing, on a more secular note, that the lady playing Mary Magdalene in the 2000 version is fine.  And she’s got a swell voice , too:

I know some folks who freak out a little over that one line: “he’s a man.  He’s just a man.”  Because, you know, the whole divinity thing.

I think they may be missing the point as badly as the people who take Nietzsche’s “God is dead” line out of context (outside our purview for today, but for the record, a fictional character in one of Nietzsche’s books said that, and he didn’t say it like it was a good thing, either.  Giving Nietzsche crap for that is like attributing to C. S. Lewis the dialogue from the villain of Perelandra).  Mary Magdalene thinks He’s just a man.  And really, looking at the subtext here, I’d say even she’s far from sure of that.  She’s trying to convince herself that He’s just a man, and she’s having to work at it, because what He is is frightening.

Sympathy For the Devil

Posted in movies, Music, Religion with tags , , on February 19, 2009 by bradellison

Jesus Christ Superstar does a pretty decent job of giving Judas’ side of the story.  And it does so without absolving him.

It’s so easy to miss the point.

So easy to rationalize.

And then to drown in guilt you try to disavow.  It’s only at the very end that he begins to grasp what really happened.

“And you knew! All the time!”

He doesn’t seem really learn much of use to him from this revelation.  He could have.