I was especially enchanted by Judy Garland. She was just so extravagantly talented. Her acting had utter sincerity, her dancing conveyed an effortless grace, and that voice! I've never heard another singer whose vocal performances were so enhanced by such a tremulous (and even dangerously out of control) vibrato. My favorite non-Dorothy number of hers was and remains "Get Happy" from Summer Stock.
Now when I first saw her in the mid-1970s, I felt like I'd discovered her. Part of my passion came from the fact that yes, she was that good. Part of it was that the music of that era was particularly putrid. "Seasons in the Sun" and "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" were the drek pouring from my transistor. So I turned to Judy with intensity.
It was also during the mid-1970s that I fell in love with Chicago. I grew up in a suburb a half hour and a lifestyle away. Where everyone was the same. Where everyone knew everyone. Where nothing seemed to move or happen. I never felt I belonged.
When I began taking the train into the city with my friends, I came alive. Noise! Motion! People! Tabula rasa! I was always sad when night fell and I had to go back to the burbs, because I belonged downtown.
|Alas, "Get Happy" isn't on it|
That long-ago Saturday afternoon popped into my mind today when I sneaked out of the office and dashed to Macy's on State and Randolph. I saw the Garland Court street sign. What had been that record store is now a 7-11. Definitely a sad sign of the times, but that's not the point.
I made it! I'm downtown every day, just like I wanted to be, ached to be, when I was a kid. I must pass Garland Court six or seven times during my workweek. When I do from now on, I must remember to pat myself on the back. I got where I wanted to go. That's an accomplishment.