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Pegasus ballot - Phil's Rambling Rants — LiveJournal
August 24th, 2006
09:06 pm

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Pegasus ballot
The Pegasus Ballot has been announced.  Congratulations to all the nominees!

As usual, I'll face some hard choices in completing the ballot, but at least I do feel pretty familiar with nearly everything on the ballot.

Choosing between Girl That's Never Been and Rich Fantasy Lives for Best Song is gonna hurt.  Both of these songs are so good that they continue to blow me away every time I hear them.  I don't mean to disparage Archetype Cafe or A Thousand Ships -- they're both really good songs -- but Girl and Fantasy are just off the scale.  (As to Close Your Eyes -- maybe I'm just a crotchety old no-fun curmudgeon, but I didn't think it was *THAT* funny the first time, and it's worn a little thin in all the times I've heard it since.  I don't hate the song.  It does amuse me.  But it's not a favorite.)

The Classic Filk Song category is a bit tough too.  I read it and think, "What? Ship of Stone never won a Peggy? Stray Dog Man never won either?"  And Black Davie's Ride is probably my favorite Cindy song.  I'll have to stew on this one for a while, although Ship of Stone is the early favorite for my vote.

Best Writer/Composer is, the only real (that is, non-rotating) category that will be easy.  After about the third time I listened to Pretty Little Dead Girl, I knew I couldn't vote for anyone but Seanan.  And I've listened to it a lot more than 3 times, and it's still better every time.  The only thing that would sway me would be if Cindy had never won the award.  But she did, and while the rules people to win the person awards multiple times, I have a strong preference for seeing the best performer and best writer/composer awards go to someone who hasn't won them before.

Best Performer is a bit of a conundrum for me.  I think Tom is the best performer on the slate, but he's won the award twice -- although not for a long time.  Ookla has also won it before.  And smac has won before too.  That leaves me choosing between Christo, Judi, and someone who has already won.  What it really comes down to, I guess, is whether I really think Judi should be considered Best Performer.  Everyone else who's ever been a Best Performer, in fact I think everyone else who's ever been nominated, has been a singer, and most are also instrumentalists.  Judi is incredible, but she's working in a whole different medium.  I'm not sure if I just need some time to get used to a new idea, or if I will still feel like the award doesn't fit come October.  Of course my readers are welcome to offer their thoughts, but I really have to work out for myself whether I think it's an appropriate choice.

And then we get to the darn rotating categories.  Weren't we supposed to have an official statement on the nominating ballot of what the Pegasus committee meant by the category names?  Somehow most of the entries in the categories don't seem to belong in the categories, and I want to choose the category winners as the song I think best exemplifies the category, not the best song overall that got nominated even though it doesn't fit.  March of Cambreadth perfectly fits my mental picture of Battle Song.  None of the others seem to quite fit, and it's an outstanding song, so it gets my vote.  As to the torch songs, I'm still a little fuzzy on what makes something a torch song -- but in my perhaps out-of-step impression of what makes a torch song, a critical element is that the singer should be singing *to* the target of his/her romantic interest.  Not just telling a story, whatever the subtext, but directly saying I Love You.  And all of the songs on the list are telling a story, or describing the singer's passions to a general audience.  (Except, maybe, for Legolas -- while I've heard it, I don't know it at all well.)  I'll have to either come to a more general understanding of "torch song", or else accept a song that doesn't feel like it fits, before I can vote.

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From:alymid
Date:August 25th, 2006 02:17 am (UTC)
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According to the internets (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torch_song)

A torch song is a sentimental love song, typically one in which the singer laments an unrequited or lost love.

The etymology comes from "Carrying a torch for him/her"; which means to long for a lost lover. A possible origin is that the singer (torch singers are almost exclusively female) sang in a sultry, jazzy way to bring out the sensual tones of the voice, thus resembling a smoldering torch... although most torch singers use the piece to display their vocal range rather than the sensuality of the voice.

Depending on which part of this description you use, at least some of these songs qualify.
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From:spiritdance
Date:August 25th, 2006 02:20 am (UTC)
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Weren't we supposed to have an official statement on the nominating ballot of what the Pegasus committee meant by the category names?

Actually, the OVFF Concom is who comes up with the categories, and we (the committee) didn't get an actual definition with either category.

Me? I was voting for a REALLY bad pun on the title of the rotating categories, but it didn't make the final ballot.
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From:billroper
Date:August 25th, 2006 04:06 am (UTC)
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You too, huh?
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From:filkertom
Date:August 25th, 2006 02:22 am (UTC)
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Heh. While obviously slightly biased in the Best Performer category (and thanks very much for the kind words, Phil), I think Judi readily belongs there. Think of her as an instrumentalist, but her instrument is pantomime or interpretive dance. She adds to any song she performs with.

And I really think you have to hear Juanita do "Close Your Eyes". ;)
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From:ericcoleman
Date:August 25th, 2006 12:50 pm (UTC)
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Juanita doing Close Your Eyes ... I HAVE to hear that

Best Performer ... man ... a bunch of my favorites. I haven't seen Chris Conway, but the rest ... man ...

the more that I think about it though, I think it needs to be Judi ... she deserves the recognition for what she does for the community ... and she is an AMAZING performer
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From:phillip2637
Date:August 25th, 2006 01:32 pm (UTC)
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After having seen her in action twice, I suspect that film footage of Judi being told that she made the ballot would be awfully entertaining.
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From:catalana
Date:August 25th, 2006 04:51 am (UTC)
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The definition of torch song that the OVFF concom wanted was the *style* of song. Everything Mary Crowell sings is a torch song. That should pretty well sum up the necessary criteria. *grin*

And as Melissa says, we don't necessarily know more than you do in advance. We'll work to make the categories for next year clearer - although actually I think it won't matter, given the categories - but this year we didn't really have the ability to clear it up in advance.
From:vixyish
Date:August 25th, 2006 09:53 pm (UTC)
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Phil, I'm so flattered. :) *blush*

What's funny is that last year I voted for "Uplift", for no other reason than that I really thought it was the best song. I may or may not vote for myself this year, but there's one song there that has been one of my all-time favorites since the moment I first heard it, so I don't know about this year, either.

As for Judi, I definitely believe she belongs there, and I nominated her. Certainly Best Performer has always in the *past* been an instrumentalist or singer, but that to me is no valid reason at all why she shouldn't be there-- it's just that there's never been another kind of performer nominated before. If the category were "best singer", well, that'd be different. But it's Best Performer, and she certainly does give a hell of a performance. :)

Thank you again for such kind words. I'm really floored; I really never have stopped being floored when people compliment my songwriting. For me, singing is easy, songwriting is hard-- so it's incredibly flattering when the thing that took me much more work is praised. :)
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From:janeg
Date:August 26th, 2006 02:24 pm (UTC)
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I nominated Judi too, at both stages, and am thrilled she has made the ballot.

As usual for me, I think the nominee list is so good that voting will be really hard. I sing both Archetype Cafe and Close Your Eyes and love both. A Thousand Ships is great. I have three parodies of The Girl That's Never Been in my filk book, and love the original a whole lot. But the one vote not in question for me is Rich Fantasy Lives; that one blows me away.

I nominated Seanan AND Michelle in songwriting - now which do I pick?

Not sure Sex and Chocolate fits the definition, but since we did not have a definition in advance, and it is on the ballot ...
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From:singlemaltsilk
Date:September 3rd, 2006 06:48 am (UTC)
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"but in my perhaps out-of-step impression of what makes a torch song, a critical element is that the singer should be singing *to* the target of his/her romantic interest. Not just telling a story, whatever the subtext, but directly saying I Love You."

At the risk of appearing self-serving, I've just gotta disagree with you on that one. Some of the great torch songs of all time, including:
The Man That Got Away
Stormy Weather
Love For Sale
Blues In The Night

are not sung to the romantic interest; rather, they tell a story.

Here's a description from music site allmusic.com:
"Torch Songs are particularly sultry ballads, so named for their slow-burning quality, and usually coming from the American pop-standard canon. In order to make them more sensuous than straight-ahead pop readings, most torch songs are performed with at least a little bit of jazz sensibility and swing. But although torch singers may use the songs as vehicles to show off their vocal range, jazz improvisation is rarely emphasized, instead spotlighting the smooth, seductive tones of the singer's voice. Torch songs can either celebrate romance or lament heartbreak, but they always create a mood related to affairs of the heart."
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