Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Mizzou Two: Zachary Tucker, left, and Sean Fitzgerald, right.

A "hate crime"?

Tommy Saunders

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Top 60 Ghetto Black Names

Applause for writer-performer-videomaker Andrew Cantu and his performing partner, Isaac Trevino, who were then a couple of eight-graders.

Posted by Cantu, aka thatboyandrew, at Youtube.

Andrew Cantu’s My Space Page

Isaac Trevino’s My Space Page

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Mancini and Mercer’s “Moon River”: Who Gives the Best Rendition?
By Nicholas Stix

Andy Williams, on West German TV (1961)

This performance is rich and passionate, yet seemingly effortless, hampered only by an overbearing arrangement. At the time, Williams’ voice was so rich, his delivery so dramatically polished—but without becoming overwrought at one extreme, or too crooner-smooth at the other—that he could have sung it a capella. I knew that Williams had a wonderful voice, but until I saw this video, I hadn’t known just how good he was. In this one performance, I find him as a balladeer the peer of Sinatra, in the latter’s prime. If not for the arrangement, this might be the best version of all.

Nancy Lamott: From the Album, Come Rain or Come Shine (1992)

Here, Lamott displays the lilting delicacy that was her calling card, with an arrangement and piano accompaniment that match that character.

Audrey Hepburn: In Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

“Audrey Hepburn proved that God exists, for only God can create perfection.”
Youtube commenter “f01863.”

Usually, it takes the greatest level of training, experience, and sophistication, in order to sing simply and without affectation. And yet Hepburn, who was not a professional singer, achieved just that with “Moon River.” And her simplicity and lack of affectation saved the song which, sung in an affected style would have become schmaltz and ruined the picture.

Not that she was a complete neophyte. She had had some training, and had sung in Funny Face four years earlier. Still…

I’ve read that Breakfast at Tiffany’s producer wanted to cut the song, which Henry Mancini had composed expressly for Hepburn, and that her advocacy saved it. And with it, the picture. Without “Moon River,” Breakfast might still have been a great picture, but it would not have been quite the masterpiece that it was. For the whole picture wraps around the song and the theme. Mancini’s melody and Johnny Mercer’s lyrics expressed perfectly Truman Capote’s sentimentality, while Hepburn’s performance pulled the song back from becoming schmaltz.

And what is true of Hepburn’s performance of “Moon River” is true of her performance as “Holly Golightly,” a thoroughly preposterous name for a preposterous character, in a preposterous story! In other otherwise brilliant actresses’ hands, the picture could easily have been utterly ridiculous. But Audrey Hepburn was a magical creature.

Returning to “Moon River,” I could see where someone might choose Lamott over Hepburn, but I say that Hepburn gave the best rendition of what was, after all, her song.

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