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Monday, December 7, 2009

Kennedy Center Honors.....

The Washington Post did a wonderful story in the latest Kennedy Center Honorees.... Mel Brooks, Grace Bumbry, Bruce Springsteen, Robert De Niro, and Dave Brubeck. You know I am a fan of Bruce. I have seen him twice in this past year alone. I am also a fan of the other talents. I encourage you to read the article ~ it is well written and tells the tales of these fantastic artists.

Mel Brooks"I remember I was about 8 or 9 and there was a family meeting," said Brooks. "My mother said, 'I don't want to live in the back anymore.' She says, 'All I see are clothes on the lines and all I hear are cats howling, while real life is going on across the hall.' As if that was the Rialto over there, something sophisticated and wonderful. As if there was a Cole Porter show happening on South Third Street. But anyway, that's what she wanted."
Brooks still remembers his brother Irving's line -- "We can do it" -- which became the Kaminsky family rallying cry, and much later the title of a song Brooks would write for the musical version of "The Producers." The brothers worked "so Mom could move from the back to where the action was," an achievement "I never forgot because it said, Where there's a will, there's a way."

Scott Vogel, Washington Post

Mel's never say never spirit drove him and millions into much needed laughter so many times. Mel's humor is often crude. Watch the video at your own risk :)

Grace Bumbry"Bumbry has been singing in Europe since her debut in Paris in 1960, at age 23. "Back in those days, you felt as if you were being given a lesson," she says of the all-important exposure to European cultures as a young American who first went over to immerse herself in the German and French repertory. The next year, she gained international attention and acclaim as the "Black Venus" in Wieland Wagner's Bayreuth production of "Tannhäuser" -- the first African American singer at Bayreuth, in a role that is meant to be the epitome of female beauty. Some protested. More, though, raved..........

Bumbry studied music intensely even at Charles Sumner High School, the first all-black high school west of the Mississippi, and won a local radio competition at the age of 17 singing "O don fatale" from Verdi's "Don Carlo." Part of the prize was admission to a local conservatory, but that proved impossible; the conservatory was unwilling to take a black student."
Anne Midgette, Washington Post

To over come and rise above.

Bruce Springsteen

"For Springsteen, rock-and-roll has always been about making contact with his audience. He describes his songwriting, his albums, his concerts, the entirety of his career as an "ongoing conversation" with his fans. It is as much about them -- their dreams, frustrations, failings and joys -- as it is about him. Fans see themselves, or people they know, in the vast cast of characters that inhabit his songs and give them life. It's a quintessentially American array: winners, losers, gamblers, hustlers, lovers, outcasts and desperadoes."
Joe Heim, Washington Post

Well said, Joe, well said.

Robert De Niro"Martin Scorsese, the filmmaker most closely associated with De Niro over the years, is philosophical. "I can't imagine what his process was, emotionally and psychologically, how he got through it," Scorsese says of De Niro's earlier, most demanding roles. "Comedy gives him a chance to look at himself and look at the past, and make the transition to the future."
Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

Above is in response to Mr. De Niro's role choices of late. I agree with Mr. Scorsese, Mr. DeNiro is entitled to evolution just like the rest of us. His versatility is incomparable.

Dave Brubeck"Then he and his sidemen would crack that ballad wide open in a hard-charging, swinging version in a time signature you couldn't hope to count out, you'd just have to close your eyes and hold on. That is how Brubeck is. That is how he plays. That is how he lives, in stubborn and sunny defiance of all conventional rhythms of jazz and age itself."
Ann Gerhart, Washington Post

Jazz genius!

The Honors will be broadcast on CBS, Dec. 29 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Thank you to all the artists for the wonderful times you have given us!

I am joining the party at Between Naps on the Porch as these artists changed the way we look at and hear things and the innovation they brought to their particular medium.

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