Thursday, January 08, 2009

2008 in Review

I got this idea from Mo, who snagged it over that other Gal's place.

Copy, paste, & share the first sentence(s) of the first post of each month during 2008: (link to each post by clicking on the title)

January: In Praise of Captain Tony's "This is my favorite bar in Key West."

February: You Big Babies! "
Ok, so it snowed last night and all morning."

March: Where have you been all my life? "I'm talking about the show NCIS generally, and Mark Harmon specifically."

April: Tuesday Tunes "Word association week: Remember name the first song/album/artist/musical style that comes to mind when you see the following 10 words."

May: Grrrr! "I'm wound a little tight just now."

June: She gets me every time "I was channel surfing just now and came upon Olive Hoover as she prepares to do her big "Super Freak" number in the Little Miss Sunshine pageant."

July: Today would have been her birthday. "#47, I believe. I wonder what a middle-aged Princess Diana would be doing."

August: Miss Me? "The Blogger robots came by yesterday and decided I was one of them."

September : When Is a Duck a Real Ass? "When Mad Men is on, that's when."

October: Well, that was cruel "I cannot believe how tonight's Cubs/Dodgers game went!"

November: Lunch with my niece "We celebrated her birthday, just she and I, at an Italian restaurant."

December: Funny or Sad? You Be the Judge. "You are looking at the interest my Chase checking account earned during the month of November."

Let me know if you choose to play along, so I can see how your world looks in review.

Happy Birthday, Your Highness

“It was like he came along and whispered some dream in everybody’s ear, and somehow we all dreamed it.” Bruce Springsteen

“When I first heard Elvis' voice I just knew that I wasn’t going to work for anybody, and nobody was going to be my boss...Hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail.”
Bob Dylan

“Before Elvis, there was nothing.”
John Lennon

Elvis is a truly great vocalist, and you can hear why on this song. His phrasing, his use of echo, it's all so beautiful. It's the way he sings it, too. As if he's singing it from the depths of Hell. It's a perfect example of a singer being in command of the song. Paul McCartney on Heartbreak Hotel

I say a little prayer

My best friend lives outside Boulder. He says he can see the wildfires from his home office window. He seems more concerned about his big 2009 planning meeting this afternoon than he does about being evacuated, though. Which means: a) the fires are a comfortable ways away from him or b) agency life and job prospects in Boulder are scarier than a wildfire. Maybe both.

I'm keeping the front page of the Boulder Daily Camera open so I can monitor the situation, just in case.


The Soul Patrol Meets Rydell High

I saw the Broadway in Chicago production of Grease, with Taylor Hicks, last night at the Auditorium Theater, and I had a wonderful time. This is largely because, as they say, a girl never forgets her first, and this show reminded me of a couple of notable firsts in my pop culture-loving life.

1) Grease. It was one of the first big musical productions I ever saw live. About this same time I also saw A Chorus Line for the first time. I fell in love. Not only with big musicals, but with living in Chicago, a world-class city with a flourishing theater community. (Grease originated in Chicago, you know.) So last night, while I was watching Danny and Sandy and Doody, I remembered the teenaged Gal I was the first time I met them, live, at the Civic Opera House, when I was also introduced to all my city has to offer.

2) Taylor Hicks, my first American Idol. I'd avoided the show until season 5. Then, for some reason, when it was narrowed down to 12, I tuned in. Once I saw Taylor Hicks among the others, he was my candidate. Sure, I got a kick out of Chicken Little. Rocker Chris Daughtry seemed somewhat uncomfortable with the middle-of-the-road, adult/contemporary format. Elliott Yamin screwed up the lyrics to Elvis' "If I Can Dream," an unforgivable sin in this Gal's book. I didn't really find any of the women memorable. But then there was Taylor Hicks. Good-natured, corny, with terrific pipes and blue-eyed soul that was part Johnny Rivers/part Michael McDonald, and yet somehow all his own. Watching Taylor Hicks pick off his competition and rise to the top hooked me, and I've been an AI addict ever since.

Last night he was Teen Angel, so his big number was "Beauty School Dropout." His blue glitter jacket was worth the price of admission, as was his entrance, emerging from a heavenly ice cream cone. He was in fine voice, and his style is well-suited to the nostalgic material. He connected well to the audience, so I was sorry to see him go. I wondered why they didn't just dye his trademark gray hair and let him play Danny. After all, Danny is usually played by actors who can sing (Barry Bostwick on stage, John Travolta in the movie). Why not turn it around a little and cast a singer who can act? Why not give it to my American Idol?

Because Taylor Hicks is a clod who can't dance for shit. When he came out at the end with the entire cast to reprise the big numbers, he soloed on "Grease" and was terrific. He even did a harmonica solo. But then he moved to the back of the stage. Waaaaaay back. Because he knows he can't dance for shit. It's not just his feet, it's his hands, too. Watching him try to "hand jive" was priceless.

The thing of it is, the audience still loved him. Filing out of the theater, people of all ages were laughing (affectionately) and imitating his awful moves. Like me, many were disappointed that he was onstage for such a limited time. I heard, "Jennifer Hudson's got an Oscar and he's doing this," as though as an American Idol winner he should be doing more prestigious things.

Maybe. Maybe not. There's a delightful lack of pretension to Taylor Hicks. He doesn't seem to feel like he's slumming as he struts around in his glitter jacket or whips out the harmonica. He seems to know that all he's doing is giving the crowd a little pleasure on a cold, January night. It's not lasting Art-with-a-capital-A, but it's fun. Perhaps that's his calling. Fun is certainly a worthy goal these days.

P.S. Since I'm a clod who can't dance for shit, either, I still consider Taylor Hicks my own personal American Idol.