Oh, where was I? Oh, yes, I was bloviating about the way everyone should and would live, if I ruled the world. Fortunately for the world and all the various tribes in it, there is not the remotest chance of that, so I can continue to throw out various incendiary ideas about life and only the most dimwitted will take them seriously. Every now and again though, I do say something that resonates with my public, and they are quick to acknowledge same. For instance, I have often railed against the poisoning of the environment, and the horrific amount of waste that we subject the planet to every day. Plastics are a particular peeve of mine; I believe they are the scourge of the devil, and I never use them if I can help it. I tell staff to buy vintage glass and ceramic containers on Ebay, or, if I'm feeling crafty, on Etsy, and although I can see it annoys the hell out of them, I pay them...well, never mind what I pay them, but eventually they do bend to my whim of iron.
Plastic bags? There are no words to describe the damage they have inflicted on the environment and unsuspecting wildlife. Have you ever been to a beach in India? My dear! Have you ever seen a cow chewing on a plastic bag that floated into its pasture? The mental picture alone is enough to make you swear them off, n'est-ce pas? When I first started traveling to Europe, back in the divine, decadent 70's, I remember so well the string bags the Parisians carried in their pockets, for shopping on their way home...one never forgets those things, when they seem so correct. Everyone carried them, even Yves, and LouLou...Where did those string bags go?? And why would any thinking person need a plastic bag for a candy bar?
Yes, dear reader, I am a bit of a crank. For instance, I look at the shards of soap in the dishes scattered around my house and I ask myself, what should I do with these? One can't just throw them into the landfill, so déclassé; there must be another use for them; I mean WHAT DO THE HOTELS DO WITH ALL THAT SOAP??? Guests use them once and then what? Are they discarded? Taken by the guests (some women do that, I am told) or just thrown away? It's one of life's mysteries. There are so many mysteries, and many of them are matters of life and death. For instance, why do police look and act the same all over the world? Stocky, thick necked, and mean! (Except in NY, where they are mostly overweight and in desperate need of a tailor). Why are "Strongmen" all over the world completely devoid of feeling for their fellow humans? What kind of mothers did they have? Why do municipal contractors not fill in potholes if that's their job? Who counts the potholes to make sure they are filled? How can you get a pothole filled if you just fell into it?? If you just fractured your foot from falling in a pothole, how do you get home? Aiyiyiyiyi! It gives one pause.
Oops, sorry, I got distracted. We were talking about soaps, and what to do with their little corpses. So, I went to YouTube to see if there was some like-minded soul who had the same compulsion as I. Sure enough, there it was: the answer to the question of new life for old soap. In ten steps. Something about chopping the soap, boiling the soap, and then pouring it into into a mold. I love it, and I fully intend to do it. As soon as I collect enough soap and can find the time.
Now if I could only figure out the part about the "Strongmen"
Had hummingbirds fly into my house 2 days in a row. IT'S MATING SEASON!! Hang ribbons on your windows or get stickers to keep them away...
As our world grows smaller and smaller, and we learn of the infinite number of ways in which human beings can hurt each other, ultimately, there is only music left. Play it, sing it, dance to it, spread it around, for all the joy it brings. I have made music my whole life, and I am still learning and loving it, all of it. Every season on this site, I chat about some of the music I have made, and give you a little insight into why I chose the songs I did, and what the experience was like…
Here comes Spring, thank the Lord! What a winter! This was a doozy; it left everyone at their wits’ end. My daughter wore a sleeping bag coat for 6 months...and of course I gifted her with my famous “HotHead” hat, guaranteed to keep your head warm even in minus-degree weather; (www.thehatshopnyc.com, although I don’t think they make them anymore). Speaking from my perch as all-seeing, all-knowing, and AAD, (Also A Doctor) if your head is warm, you will stay healthy...that’s why everyone wore nightcaps in the old days, and as I sometimes do even to this day. (I know, it’s quite a picture, right?)
But with Spring finally just around the corner, my thoughts turn to music, one of the best, best, best things in life, and one of the few things that continues to uplift.
The album we will discuss this season is Some People’s Lives, made in 1990, and another happy collaboration between me, Arif Mardin, and Marc Shaiman. The moving “From a Distance” became a surprise hit for us, but I shouldn’t have been surprised. In retrospect, it captured a kind of longing for peace that had not been expressed musically in a long time. It’s a great, great song, universal in its longing and tone. Whether it’s sung with a huge orchestra, or just a guitar, and I have sung it all these years in every configuration possible; it still brings down the house, not because of the way I sing it, but because it’s what everyone wishes for. Daily.
A song that has a special feeling for me on this album is “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most,” a ballad by Fran Landesman and Tommy Wolfe from a show called “The Nervous Set”, which had a small success off-Broadway in the 50”s. Of course, it became a jazz classic in the hands of Anita O’Day, one of those remarkable singers of the day; and my fascination with those neurotic times (think Mad Men, the Beats, and the Bomb) continues to this day. Just think, it was only 10-15 years after WWII ended; can you believe it? No wonder people were neurotic! I was just a kid in those days, and the world was brand new to me, but when I think about it now, what people of my parents’ generation had to absorb is unbelievable; the Depression, the War, the Holocaust, Reds under the Beds...I don’t know how they kept it together.
Marc Shaiman contributed a beautiful arrangement of “He Was Too Good to Me” paired with “Since You Stayed Here”, by Rubens and Larsen, which I could never get through without breaking down…Jude Johnstone contributed “The Girl is on to You” and Janis Ian gave me one of my favorite songs of all time, the title track, “Some People’s Lives” which, in a lyrical feat, manages to be so sad, yet hopeful at the same time.
Some people’s lives,
run down like clocks,
one day they stop,
and that’s all they’ve got
Some lives wear out
Like old tennis shoes
no one can use
well, it’s sad, but it’s true
Didn’t anybody tell them
Didn’t anybody see?
Didn’t anybody love them?
Like you love me?
I always think of my husband, the Baron, whenever I sing it.
“Moonlight Dancing” provides a soundtrack for those outdoor cocktail parties you’ve been planning since you’ve been in hibernation, and “All of a Sudden” sort of feels like a throwback to the New Wave 80’s, late, as I usually am, since this album came out in 1990! So get out your crinolines and skinny ties and pour yourself a Long Island Iced Tea...et voila!
As you can probably tell, I really liked this album; the songs, the arrangements, and let’s discuss that cover photo! We shot it on one of the most beautiful days I can remember in LA, and the picture was taken at sunset, at what we call “magic hour”. I hope you play these songs at sunset, love them, and have many, many magic hours of your own...Here’s to Spring!
“It is an honor to play a human being”…this is a quote I recently heard that made think about what a privilege it is to be part of the profession. I’ve acted since I was 14 years old, and every part brings its own challenges and thrills. Some parts are 100% successful, but many are elusive, no matter how hard one tries. The joy of solving the riddles never gets old, though. Here are some greats, near greats, also rans, and DOAs that I lived through…judge for yourselves.
Spring is here, and we are busy cleaning up after a long season of letting things slide. Look again at all that stuff you have been squirreling away for years and be ruthless: make piles: keep, toss, and disown (What is this? Where did this come from? That’s not me!) Take heart, it happens to all of us. Here are some newly uncovered photos that I can’t toss without showing them to you first…
YOU'RE INVITED TO NYRP'S 2014 SPRING PICNIC
Thursday, May 29, 2014
6:30 PM Cocktails
7:30 PM Tented Picnic Supper
General Grant National Memorial
Riverside Drive at 122nd Street, New York City
NYRP's annual Spring Picnic celebrates the season with a salute to all things spring. So get out your gingham, roll up your sleeves and dig into a feast with all the fixins'. No one can throw an outdoor shindig like my co-host Judy Gold and, of course, yours truly. Join my dear friends, NYRP and me for refreshing cocktails, a downright delectable dinner and music by John Pizzarelli.
This year's Spring Picnic is all about gardens and as such, we’ll honor Ron Finley, the Guerrilla Gardener of South Central LA. Not to mention, we’ll be unveiling a live-scale model of the new garden Casita—designed for us by Enrique Norten's architecture firm Ten Arquitectos—showcasing a brand new modular structure built to be completely adaptable and totally efficient. The prototype will be installed at our soon-to-be-renovated Willis Avenue Community Garden in the South Bronx.
Tickets available by calling NYRP’s Karen Dumonet at 212-333-2552.