Top Hat (1935), a musical comedy starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, filmed in splendid black and white, with Irving Berlin songs, stylish Art Deco settings, and wonderful costumes. What a joy to watch the two dance and listen to them sing. Below is the video clip of "Cheek to Cheek" from the movie. Listen to Astaire hit the high notes, which Berlin worried he might not be able to do. I've long thought Fred Astaire was not given his due for his singing talent. He didn't have a large voice, but his style and grace do full justice to the songs.
The film includes a group dance scene shot from above in Busby Berkeley style, though not nearly as complex as Berkeley's production numbers.
Astaire hated Ginger Rogers' dress with ostrich feathers in the "Cheek to Cheek" scene, because feathers came loose from the dress and flew all over, but Rogers wanted the dress and held her ground. Astaire called her "Feathers" thereafter. Before I send the DVD back, I will watch the film again.
Later: The second time around, I noted the ostrich feathers flying around and lying on the floor.
Here's the video clip of "Cheek to Cheek", with Astaire singing and Astaire and Rogers dancing and the ostrich feathers flying, which detract not at all from the brilliance of their performance.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Sunday, January 5, 2014
For thus says the Lord:Thy Kingdom come...
Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,
and raise shouts for the chief of the nations;
proclaim, give praise, and say,
‘Save, O Lord, your people,
the remnant of Israel.’
See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north,
and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth,
among them the blind and the lame,
those with child and those in labour, together;
a great company, they shall return here.
With weeping they shall come,
and with consolations I will lead them back,
I will let them walk by brooks of water,
in a straight path in which they shall not stumble;
for I have become a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is my firstborn.
Time for the shepherds and sheep to move along and make way for the Magi.
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Thursday, December 26, 2013
|St Stephen icon by Tobias Haller|
We give you thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed for his persecutors to your Son Jesus Christ, who stands at your right hand: where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting.If the humble beginnings of Jesus, the Christ, conceived by an unwed mother and born in a cold stable, a shelter for farm animals, is not real enough for us, the feast of St Stephen the Martyr jerks us violently back into reality.
(Book of Common Prayer)
Read Tobias' "Warning For Storytellers".
While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he died. And Saul approved of their killing him.
That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria. Devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church by entering house after house; dragging off both men and women, he committed them to prison.
Now those who were scattered went from place to place, proclaiming the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them. The crowds with one accord listened eagerly to what was said by Philip, hearing and seeing the signs that he did, for unclean spirits, crying with loud shrieks, came out of many who were possessed; and many others who were paralysed or lame were cured. So there was great joy in that city.
Monday, December 23, 2013
My mother made the Nativity set in her ceramics class more than twenty years ago, so it's one of my treasures. I have Magi and camels, too, but I need such a large space to display them all, and by the time Epiphany comes, Christmas is over. Facebook friends suggested placing the Magi and camels elsewhere in the house and slowly moving them closer to the Nativity figures. The figures are breakable, so I'd have to think of places to put the future visitors that would be safe. I broke the fingers off the shepherd with his hand extended, but I mended the break, and I'm grateful the fix has held together for years. One of the camels is sitting down, but I could move him along in his lazy position.
Since churches are having Lessons and Carols services, here is my pre-Christmas carol, a lovely version of "The Wexford Carol" with Yo Yo Ma and Alison Krauss.
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might,
and come to save us!
Restore us, O God;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.
O Lord God of hosts,
how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
You have fed them with the bread of tears,
and given them tears to drink in full measure.
You make us the scorn of our neighbours;
our enemies laugh among themselves.
Restore us, O God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.
But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand,
the one whom you made strong for yourself.
Then we will never turn back from you;
give us life, and we will call on your name.
Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel’,
which means, ‘God is with us.’ When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Collect of the Day
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
Praise the Lord!Epistle of James 5: 7-10
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God all my life long.
Do not put your trust in princes,
in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
on that very day their plans perish.
Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith for ever;
who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
he upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The Lord will reign for ever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!
Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.Listen to and/or read Fr Tobias Haller's sermon for Third Sunday in Advent.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Collect of the Day: Second Sunday of Advent
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.The Holy Gospel according to Matthew
(Book of Common Prayer)
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." This is the one of whom the prophet Isai'ah spoke when he said,I recommend Penny Nash's fine sermon titled "Fire and Light".
"The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
"Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.'"
Now John wore clothing of camel's hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
But when he saw many Phar'isees and Sad'ducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, "We have Abraham as our ancestor'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire." (Matthew 3:1-12)
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Monday, September 23, 2013
From their wonderful album, The River in Reverse.
From a review at Amazon:
Tim Brough "author and music buff"
The most searing of musical indictments during 2006 didn't come from some young buck MC or a snorting enraged punk band. It came from a pair of wizened musical vets. Elvis Costello teamed up with Allen Toussaint and dropped this amazing 13 song collaboration that both celebrates the spirit of New Orleans' music makers at the same time it ravages those that willingly stood off and averted their eyes. "Ascension Day" is this album's centerpiece, mournfully delivering the lyric "40 days passed by, 40 alibis" with the clarity of his best work. "The River In Reverse" takes on this dichotomy and doesn't flinch. The angry young man of old finally gets to harness his vitriol to a new cause, and Toussaint gives Costello a whole new batch of colors to work with.
Oddly enough, it is the catalog numbers from Toussaint that really bring out the soul to "The River In Reverse." Versions of "Tears and More Tears," "Freedom for the Stallion" and "Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further" (with the lead sung by Toussaint) make their emotional mark to the time, even despite their age. Toussaint's arrangements (often not varying much from their older recordings) also draw out some of Costello's better vocal skills. He sounds more soulful here than on his "My Flame Burns Blue" CD, released with the same year as "The River In Reverse."
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Rock ’n’ roll pioneer Fats Domino, 85, was honored Wednesday at his home by New Orleans Jazz Orchestra founder Irvin Mayfield and keyboardist Davell Crawford.My relationship with Fats goes back a long time, to the early 1950s, when we jitterbugged or slow danced to his music. Fats' recordings remain in my music collection today, and I listen fairly often. Congratulations, Fats. The gold records, No. 1 hits, and honors are well-earned and well-deserved.
Domino’s ascendancy began in 1949 with his million-selling recording of “The Fat Man.” By the early 1960s, he had racked up 35 Top 40 records including the No. 1 hits “Ain’t That a Shame,” “Blueberry Hill” and “Blue Monday.”
Here's Fats with "Blue Monday".
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
The photo above, which I snapped around 6:35pm yesterday, is of the moon in the eastern sky in full daylight.
The photo below is of a not-very-spectacular sunset in the western sky, taken a few minutes after the moon picture.
I am moonstruck in the sense that I am infatuated with the moon, but it is Grandpère who is my true love. When I step outside at night, the first thing I do is look for the moon. I have to walk my old dog Diana at night so she doesn't wet her bed, and she and the moon are my favorite companions. When there's no visible moon, something seems missing. Last night, the moon was so bright when it was high in the sky that it cast dark shadows on the ground. Diana, me, and our shadows made for a comfortable walking group.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Only several months ago did I discover The Civil Wars on NPR and fall in love with them. After watching and listening to the video, I purchased their first album, "Barton Hollow," which I've listened to again and again. Their chemistry in performing, and the near perfect blend of their voices in harmony give the songs a magical quality that completely won me over. The album won the Grammy Award for Best Country Duo/Group Performance and Best Folk Album in 2012.
Joy Williams and John Paul White scheduled a tour of Europe, and in the middle of the schedule, they cancelled the rest of their appearances due to "irreconcilable differences." The two had also started production on a second album, which they completed despite their disagreements. Their excellent new album, titled "The Civil Wars", has been released and is now available.
The split greatly disappointed me and thousands of fans. I'm in mourning. Joy and John Paul performed alone for several years before getting together, and both have wonderful voices, but I doubt the magic will translate into their solo performances. I wish them well, but, more than anything, I wish they'd resolve their "irreconcilable differences" and get back together.
"Poison & Wine"
Friday, August 30, 2013
Read the story here:
A colossal sinkhole that opened up overnight in August 2012 in the rural Louisiana town of Assumption Parish has continued to expand at a staggering rate, devouring with it land and trees as documented in a new video that was uploaded on Tuesday.Does anyone know or, if so, will they say how much more the sinkhole will continue to expand?
The three-minute YouTube video was posted to an account run by the Assumption Parish Police Jury. The video shows about a dozen trees on the outside of a berm in the sinkhole suddenly swallowed in less than a minute. Six seconds into the video, the trees slowly begin to sink. At 41 seconds, their tops are no longer visible above the bubbling water.
The Assumption Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness has said that the sinkhole doesn't pose a danger to other homes in the area.I wonder. If I lived in one of the homes in the area, I doubt I'd be as confidant as the Assumption Parish official. Not that I mean to imply that the parish leaders are hiding information, for I think they do the best they can with what they know. Still, I worry about what they don't know.
UPDATE: An article in Mother Jones details the history of the sinkhole from the beginning to the situation in the area of the collapse in early August.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
This Is Probably The Funniest, Most Effective Way To Deal With People Who Ignore Science Facts Ever
There are members of Congress [and governors] who don't understand or accept basic science concepts. This hilarious video is dedicated to them.
Where's our boy Bobby Jindal? Surely his name is next on the list.
Sunday, August 18, 2013
When I listen to Sequentia's incredibly beautiful performance of Hildegard von Bingen's exquisite music, I imagine I'm hearing Hildegard herself singing. Their project to record all of her music, which began in 1982, is now complete.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Saturday, August 10, 2013
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Rick Perry: “Now there are many other states that embrace those conservative values, the approach that we’ve taken over the years. I’m in one today – in Florida. Look at South Carolina; you look at Florida.”Run, Rick, run. Oooh, I hope Perry runs. He will not be the candidate unless the death wish in the GOP is far stronger than even I can imagine, but it will be such fun if Perry runs. The video is priceless. Graceful recovery - NOT.
From the audience: “We’re in Louisiana!”
Rick Perry: "I know; I said that. I'm in one of those states that reflect those today - in Louisiana. Yes, I got that."
H/T to Daily Kos and a Facebook friend.