One of the evils of flying, so I’m told (I’ve flown a total of TWO times my entire life, and that counts the destination and the homecoming), here and abroad, is the often paralyzing, exasperating flight delays and/or cancellations that are pretty much the norm at all airports. How many of us (or you) will be so lucky the next time your flight is postponed to have the timeless Cyndi Lauper waiting with you? And, ever more glorious, how many would be so honored to have her sing one of her signature classics to alleviate your discontent? That’s exactly what happened in a Buenos Aries airport a few days ago – as the festering frustrations began to mount, Lauper took to the mic. Thankfully, someone caught the magical moment with their phone.
And one has to think that if this happened in an American airport, Lauper would’ve been trampled to the ground and arrested by the security goons. Who would, no doubt, then ask her for her autograph and picture.
Oh, yeah. And if you haven’t already, PLEASE download/pickup/whatever it’s called these days Lauper’s 2010 Grammy-nominated Blues album, MEMPHIS BLUES. It is, quite simply, extraordinary.
Here’s a YouTube preview posted last year:
Dear America. You can keep your musical trash bags like Ke$ha. You can hold dear your atonal warblers like Rihanna (yeah, yeah, I know she’s from Barbados, but made her mark here in the US as a teen). You want your sterile Country music automatons like Carrie Underwood or your tone-deaf milquetoast Country queens like Taylor Swift? My pleasure – take them, please. Enjoy dodging the melisma of caterwaulers like Christina Aguilera – and, good luck; they’re your ears, not mine. Want everyday to be a tuneless Thanksgiving day? Revel in your discordant SciFi megatron turkey gobblers like Katy Perry.
That’s right, clueless masses. Continue to misprise breathtaking beauty – seamless, pure vocal talent – an unaffected gift as natural and as ethereal as any we’ve heard in many moons. That’s fine. Let the rest of us have Adele.
After surprisingly – yet elatedly (for those in the know) – being nominated for 4 Grammy Awards in 2009 (and winning Best Female Pop Performance for “Chasing Pavements” and Best New Artist) and another nod in 2010 (for “Hometown Glory”), Adele will release her second album, 21, on February 22. I’ve been absorbed in it since its UK release last month – it’s gorgeous.
Last night, she performed the track “Someone Like You” from 21 at the Brit Awards. Magnificent.
I heard the voices beyond the mountains….the roar of magical laughter, as if the dark shroud of midnight has, at long last, enlightened from its dormancy to shine again.
To see these faces again is to understand timelessness; to be in their presence was to feel how minute time really is.
Facebook, as I’ve often defended to it’s increasing claque of naysayers, has been a great tool for many reasons, especially for we, the catalysts, in our searches – not for the long-lost youth we’d be imprudent to hope for, but for those friends who’ve floated onto other paths because, well…life happens. And it granted one wish of mine…to see my friends again…
So here we were, gathered, like her children beckoned home…to celebrate Anne’s retirement. And it was as if mere months, weeks, days – even moments – had abated instead of the actual decades that filled the scope between. How can that be? How can it be that the billions of instances have dissipated into mere fragments of time? How can the once intangible feel so innately corporeal?
That is the power of true friendship. Years drift, storms pass, (again) life happens, and the sojourns once so clearly embarked upon twist into countless labyrinths until you somehow lose your way from the palpable breath you once shared. Yet, the invisible threads – those ghosts that haunt you – are what forever connects you. And, eventually, if you tug long enough, even if ever-so-delicately, you eventually pull your hearts together to once again gather in the sanctuary that is friendship.
Friends and loved ones of the enchanting Dianne and Theresa understand that to know them is to love them, sure, but it is also to howl with unparalleled abandon…I haven’t laughed as I laughed this evening in so long it that it pained my gut for hours, temporarily losing my voice in the process. Incandescent Nissa – my once and (hopefully) future musical muse has the most infectious laugh that only parallels her natural beauty (it was a dream come true – and a hoot – recreating, to the best of our memory – an out-take of our ‘album cover’ that we took back in 1985 on Staten Island). Julie and Lillian (like Theresa and Dianne) seemingly have portraits slowly aging in the attic, because time has only enchanted them. Again, how? And to have Spike – a constant in my life for over 30 years – share this experience was a natural. He was Anne’s musical compatriot during most of our shows and bore witness to thousands of hours of our memories.
And Luz, oh Luz…what she did had me in awe. Having the honor of hearing that…that…VOICE…sing MEMORY, after far too many years, was akin to having the gates of heaven open and the angels sing upon us. And, still I quiver in the wonderment of the moment. Luz’s dedication was a spur of the moment decision – a gorgeous way of honoring Anne, decades after she performed it during the 1983 International Festival Of The Arts to such an astounding ovation (in which Anne, of course, accompanied on piano) that an encore was immediately heralded. A highlight of the night was sitting at our table while the party danced, quoting the lyrics for Luz while she wrote them on a used envelope because a sheet of paper was nowhere to be found.
And, as she sang (and before the first verse was even finished) Table 2 (our table) was in tears…again…
And what of Anne? Words can be spoken or written celebrating Anne and her years as an educator, as a musical icon, as a sister, daughter, friend. But those words, as true as any words would ever be spoken or written, wouldn’t (couldn’t) do justice to the woman she is. I will never forget when she held my hand through my dark ages…for giving me a home when I had no home, for giving me a spirit when I lost my soul…all those years ago…with unconditional love, because, well, that was…is…Anne.
Lillian said it best when she so eloquently and beautifully wrote, to Anne:
Ms. Rebold….I had to find the words to give you the utmost and most sincere Thank You I could find from the bottom of my heart….so here it is….as if our actions could not speak any louder…..I hope you realize just as I did Wednesday nite…just how special and truly a part of my life you have remained for the last 27 years. Having an 18 year old now….and experiencing the teenage realities through her….really brings closure to me as to the very big role you actually played in my life off stage as well as on stage. Looking around the table at all the old familiar faces just made me realize how many of our gaps you were able to close for us at this very delicate age. We all dealt with…as many teenagers do….insecurities that could have affected our life long term. You, my dear, sweet, teacher, friend, mentor…..managed to close those gaps for us….helping us to build each of our individual beautiful bridges of life……Wednesday night…you turned on the lights of those bridges for all of us and made us realize what a “Spectacular” show our “Memories” will always be. Love you!! Please stay in touch. xoxoxoxo Lillian Mandracchia
Such has been the impact of Anne Rebold…
Twenty-seven years ago, during some of my most starless days, I wrote the following song for Anne. And twenty-seven years later, not a single word can be changed. Time knows no limits when you’re unafraid, and, while the distance prevailed, again, love remained behind. The opportunity and privilege to still be able to call her my friend makes my heart glad…
to be (Re)bold…
Who may be so wrong…
they may never be so right?
I sailed so often to hell and back
I lived through all the unfaithful attacks
I survived the coincidences
and all the love I lacked
But I had you on my left wing
While we rode the serpents back
With you I steered through polluted skies
With you I made stable the hurricane sighs
As I glanced into the mirror
and simply asked “why?”
I couldn’t see my reflection until there appeared your eyes
Who may live through jovial times…
…alone yet baring no fight?
But through it all you grasped my hand
I could lay my head upon your shoulder
You didn’t mind my endless tears
You lifted me, eminent, made me bolder
You placed me upon the pedestal
…as high as Mount Olympus
And I cried…Mother Earth, how I cried
Yet, through it all
…through the invisible figure in the mirror
…through the blinded eyes within my soul
…through the abysmal depths of pain I endured
I had you there, tangible and wise
I had your soul…from a child to man
…to be (Re)bold
September 2, 1983
Congratulations again, Anne. Along with Dianne, Theresa, Nissa, Luz, Lillian, Julie and Spike – and the others who so wanted to be here on this night but could not – I raise the proverbial glass and honor you – and all of us. Here’s to yesterday, here’s to today, here’s to tomorrow….
***All photos by Kathy Valentine (except “the original” of Nissa and me)
Sans the copious, hammy camera-mugging from video creators Frank DeCaro, his husband Jim Colucci and porn-actor-cum-singer Frederick Ford, which only diminishes the on-screen time of their beloved muse as well as the decades of material they could have pulled from, this would have been a helluva lot funnier. But, oh, funny it is (thanx to Geoffrey Dicker and his According 2G)…
The Joey allude of the headline aside, of course I hold no antagonism toward Johnette Napolitano. True, post-WALKING IN LONDON, Concrete Blonde’s releases mostly meandered through head-scratchers and curios, while Johnette’s contributions to the otherwise dire NO TALKING, JUST HEAD fiasco were that Talking Heads offshoot’s only (barely) palliative moments. But anger? Of course not. They became my favorite band the moment I heard the opening guitar crunch of their great God Is A Bullet single from their second album, 1989s FREE, which morphed into near obsession by the time their 1990 masterpiece BLOODLETTING was released – the bands 3rd album became my #1 album of the same year, and Top 10 of the decade. Her hauntingly beautiful reading of Coldplay’s “The Scientist” (from the soundtrack to the film WICKER PARK and her unjustly overlooked 2007 solo CD SCARRED) ranks in the tops of my most beloved cover songs.
Napolitano has long been one of my personal favorite Rock N Roll singers – a sadly unheralded (by those not in the know) exemplary vocalist, bassist and songwriter (her list of various credits could be found on her Wicki page profile HERE).
So, you could imagine how I trembled with orgasmic pleasure when I clicked onto Slicing Up Eyeballs (one of my regular go-to music blogs) and read the following:
Details are scant, but it appears Concrete Blonde is reuniting this summer after a five-year split to mark the 20th anniversary of Bloodletting by going on tour and performing the 1990 album — with its crossover hit “Joey” and fan fave “Tomorrow, Wendy” — live in its entirety.
On its website, the band — the longtime core of singer/bassist Johnette Napolitano and guitarist James Mankey — has posted the cover of Bloodletting and this cryptic message: “Joey’s 20th Birthday / The Vampires Rise / Summer 2010″ (shown above).
At least one tour date, however, has emerged: Concrete Blonde is scheduled to perform Bloodletting in its entirety — and Napolitano will be available for a meet-and-greet with paying fans — on June 21 at the Arvada Center for the Arts just outside of Denver, Colo.
I’m not sure what mighty powers I need to imbue the universe with, or what supernatural forces are necessary – and I don’t want to sound like a 9-year old girl who’s missing out on Justin Bieber tickets – but if this tour doesn’t pass through NY, “Like, OMG, I’ll die!” I simply cannot…will not…I refuse to miss this. A fucking meet-and-greet? Oh, sweet Mother Earth…
So, Johnette, if you’re listening (or if you’ll actually read the 500 e-mail’s I’m sure to imminently send), please do not forsake your New York fans…do not forsake ME! Please sing me…nay, sing US a…
When the sky has fallen
Like a blanket on your shoulder
And the moon is like a mother
Looking over you forever
And the dawn is so familiar
You were meant to be together
Like a fog around a mountain…forever
So softly…so sweetly
Surrounding you completely
Sing you a lullaby, a lullaby to you
Lullaby…a lullaby to you
When your breathing is the wind
And your crying is the rain
Well i know you will remember
Because the music is forever
The living of a lover -
And the loving of another
Like a sister to a brother
Like a father to a mother
So softly…so close to me
You’re surrounding me so beautifully
Lullaby…a lullaby to you
UPDATE March 11 via People.com:
BETTY WHITE SNL Hosting Date Confirmed
Now that over 480,000 Facebook fans have put in their request, Betty White will finally make an appearance on ‘Saturday Night Live.’
The ‘Golden Girls’ actress will host the show on May 8, WNBC News announced Thursday morning (via PEOPLE). The special Mother’s Day episode will also reunite six former female ‘SNL’ cast members: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Molly Shannon, Maya Rudolph, Ana Gasteyer and Rachel Dratch.
The show’s creator-producer, Lorne Michaels, admits the Facebook campaign “took on a groundswell.”
“[White as the host] isn’t something we would have said no to, [but the campaign] validated that, ‘Oh, that’d be fun’ … It was the outpouring of affection from fans, and we feel the same way,” Michaels added.
The Emmy-winning actress broke the news earlier this week at the 18th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Award Viewing Party, but has remained tight-lipped on the full details of her appearance.
While she’s hosting the Mother’s Day special, White has not children of her own. Michaels has an answer for any critics, explaining “She’s the mother of us all in comedy.”
The 88-year-old earned big laughs while accepting her SAG Lifetime Achievement award in January. She followed that with a surprise appearance in a Super Bowl commercial for Snickers. Fans quickly took notice and launched the now-famous campaign.
At long last, the timeless Betty White has confirmed to People Magazine what nearly 500,000 Facebook fans (including me) have rallied for – she will be hosting an upcoming episode of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE:
When asked by PEOPLE, “Are you doing Saturday Night Live,” she answered, “Yes,” even if she remains perplexed by the groundswell of support.
“I don’t know why or how,” she says, “but it’s been wonderful.”
And with that, we can all say, thank you…for being a friend…