Friday, September 12, 2008


This didn't start out as a clip job. Honest.

Though I thought briefly of saying something about last-night's much-hyped ABC interview with Sarah Palin, just attempting to read the transcript shot my already-high blood pressure to potentially terminal levels.

So I was going to offer some more musings on 9/11--Delmar in his kitten stage was going to serve as a metaphor for the nation--when I got distracted by an article in the Arts section of today's New York Times in which several of the paper's music critics pick their favorite Leonard Bernstein recordings in celebration of the 90th anniversary of his birth.

Huh? Wait! It's Bernstein's birthday? This calls for a clip! Well, actually, no, his birthday was back in August--The Times is merely celebrating the anniversary of the year of his birth. Or something.

Whatever. The point is, the article inspired me to go searching for some Bernstein clips to post, and what a trove of riches! There are great performances of him conducting Mahler--truly a match made in Heaven--and an entire concert staging of Candide. (I tried to find a live performance clip of Alan Titus singing A Simple Song from Mass--the footage exists somewhere because I saw it long ago--but that search proved fruitless.) I finally decided to post a lovely version of one of Bernstein's greatest compositions, the evergreen Chichester Psalms, then realized this was far more appropriate: the classic opening number from one of my favorite movies, On The Town, which I remember watching in those strange, terrible days following 9/11. A greater celebration of New York City would be impossible to find, as this clip presents the wonderful town at its post-war zenith, the most fantastic place on earth. To some of us, of course, it still is.

The song, one of the few remaining in the movie from the original Broadway score, isn't one of Bernstein's best, but it's still pretty damned good, and the incomparable trio of Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin and Gene Kelly (who co-directed...and watch out, because I'm sensing the potential for next week to be Gene Kelly Week around here) look like they're having a ball. Hopefully, you will, too.