throwback (and forth) thursday

I don’t even know where to begin with this.  It is my first official throwback.  I’m fairly certain it isn’t meant to follow a now vs. then format, but it looks like that is what I have created.  A couple of days ago i alluded to having had the best summer ever.  I did.  But it wasn’t all conventional summertime fun.  It was stuff that grew me out of the places in which i was stuck.  Believe me digging up the roots that were planted in infertile soil is likely to be uncomfortable to say the least.  It’s also likely to be the most loving and wonderful thing you could ever do for yourself – and for every one else for that matter.  Basically, I got a roadmap out of the illusion of my self and this world that I was lost in.  Does that make sense?  I’m trying to get into the habit of checking for understanding in all areas of my life.  Might as well include the blog.

Here goes:

lost

 

found

Let me be clear that these are not literal before and after pictures.  I did not start the summer off significantly larger than i am now, wearing glasses and hair that is… just… poorly straightened and….well, i could go on and on but i don’t want to be mean to me…

What these do represent however is that by the end of this summer I had completely lost the sad feeling that I had not grown up to be the person I was once on track to becoming.  The highest manifestation of myself, in other words.  I had lost my way.  Lost my way inside of myself.   It happens to everyone to some degree.  I am proud to report that after a little trauma and drama plus a truly magical trip to Maui, I am back in congruence with my true self.  Most of the time.  There are occasional flare ups of the old paradigm.  i sit quietly with them until they pass.  they always do.  i spend most of the rest of my time in absolute awe of everything.  For example, I was totally in awe when a friend on Facebook who has known me since I was a very little girl sent me a message that ended with, “When I watch you on FB, I’m always so happy to see that you’ve become the amazing woman that I expected you to become.”  I cried.  I had always thought how disheartening it may have been to some people who had known me to be such a bright, sparkly little girl, grow progressively more dull as time went on.  I don’t mean dull as in boring personality.  I mean it in terms of energy, twinkle, confidence, promise, conviction, and potential.  This is not about living up to other people’s expectations.  These expectations are the ones I set first.

I have so much more to tell you, blog.  So much.  Thank you for your patience.  You may have noticed that this blog is going through some changes.  It’s about time, I’d say.  The outer reflects the inner.  I’m trying to take this thing in a direction that is aligned with my vision for my life and humanity in general.  So, please bear with me while I sort this format out, and if you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them!  And by suggestions I mean, “It would be nice to have a playlist embedded here.”  Not, “Stop wishing you were white and denying your blackness” or any of that low level nonsense.  Please. Satnam.

save self from other self

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

what is this!?

all i could find out was…

No joke. They dance, they sing, they bat their gargantuan eyeballs. It’s called My Little Pony Live: The World’s Biggest Teaparty, and you can buy it on DVD if you feel so inclined.

“Why is this?” might be the more appropriate question.  As much as any little girl of the 1980′s I loved me some MLP’s, but even I am befuddled, albeit mildly amused, by this one.  To this very day, I would be thrilled to receive any of the below pictured vintage items (especially the sleeping bag if you’re looking to get me a present), but if you took me to see that… thing… i do believe i would be upset with you.

best for last

The following will come as no surprise to you if you’ve been keeping up with this blog for the last year.  At least I think all of those Jim Henson posts were done last May… I have a hard time keeping track of this thing.

This is ‘fly in my soup’ guy, right?  Love him!

Circa 1976. A very special year.  Loving the color coordination.

Stahs in the sky!

goodbye, lena

I am deeply saddened by the loss of the legendary Lena Horne.  I don’t think I have much  personal commentary at this moment.  I met Lena Horne once.  I was four or five.  My mom had a friend in Ms. Horne’s Broadway show.

She took me to see it.  We went backstage.  My mom says that with Lena and I it was love at first sight.  From what I can recall, I agree.  On my end anyway.  When I think back on that night the images that come up are all glowy and glittery with a hazy quality.  Almost like a dream.  Lena was truly magical.  She seemed to think I was as well.  Heck, when I was four or five I thought I was magical, too.  Or, should I say that I knew I was. That I hadn’t forgotten.  And nobody had tried to tell me otherwise yet.  I imagine now that Lena sprinkled some kind of fairy dust on me with a whisper never to forget who I am.  Not any part of it.  Especially not the magic.

I digress.

Needless to say I am extremely grateful to my mother and to Vondie and to Lena for that moment.  And also to Lena for breaking down barriers and speaking out against injustices and for paving the way for me to stand here today thinking these thoughts and trying to be a beacon for positive social change.

via The Huffington Post

Singer Dies At 92

VERENA DOBNIK

NEW YORK — Lena Horne, the enchanting jazz singer and actress known for her plaintive, signature song “Stormy Weather” and for her triumph over the bigotry that allowed her to entertain white audiences but not socialize with them, has died. She was 92.

Horne died Sunday at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, said hospital spokeswoman Gloria Chin, who would not release details.

Quincy Jones, a longtime friend and collaborator, was among those mourning her death Monday. He called her a “pioneering groundbreaker.”

“Our friendship dated back more than 50 years and continued up until the last moment, her inner and outer beauty immediately bonding us forever,” said Jones, who noted that they worked together on the film “The Wiz” and a Grammy-winning live album.

“Lena Horne was a pioneering groundbreaker, making inroads into a world that had never before been explored by African-American women, and she did it on her own terms,” he added. “Our nation and the world has lost one of the great artistic icons of the 20th century. There will never be another like Lena Horne and I will miss her deeply.”

“I knew her from the time I was born, and whenever I needed anything she was there. She was funny, sophisticated and truly one of a kind. We lost an original. Thank you Lena,” Liza Minnelli said Monday. Her father, director Vincente Minnelli, brought Horne to Hollywood to star in “Cabin in the Sky,” in 1943.

Horne, whose striking beauty often overshadowed her talent and artistry, was remarkably candid about the underlying reason for her success: “I was unique in that I was a kind of black that white people could accept,” she once said. “I was their daydream. I had the worst kind of acceptance because it was never for how great I was or what I contributed. It was because of the way I looked.”

In the 1940s, Horne was one of the first black performers hired to sing with a major white band, to play the Copacabana nightclub in New York City and when she signed with MGM, she was among a handful of black actors to have a contract with a major Hollywood studio.

In 1943, MGM Studios loaned her to 20th Century-Fox to play the role of Selina Rogers in the all-black movie musical “Stormy Weather.” Her rendition of the title song became a major hit and her most famous tune.

Horne had an impressive musical range, from blues and jazz to the sophistication of Rodgers and Hart in such songs as “The Lady Is a Tramp” and “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.” In 1942′s “Panama Hattie,” her first movie with MGM, she sang Cole Porter’s “Just One of Those Things,” winning critical acclaim.

In her first big Broadway success, as the star of “Jamaica” in 1957, reviewer Richard Watts Jr. called her “one of the incomparable performers of our time.” Songwriter Buddy de Sylva dubbed her “the best female singer of songs.”

“It’s just a great loss,” said Janet Jackson in an interview on Monday. “She brought much joy into everyone’s lives – even the younger generations, younger than myself. She was such a great talent. She opened up such doors for artists like myself.”

Horne was perpetually frustrated with racism.

“I was always battling the system to try to get to be with my people. Finally, I wouldn’t work for places that kept us out. … It was a damn fight everywhere I was, every place I worked, in New York, in Hollywood, all over the world,” she said in Brian Lanker’s book “I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America.”

While at MGM, Horne starred in the all-black “Cabin in the Sky,” but in most movies, she appeared only in musical numbers that could be cut when shown in the South and she was denied major roles and speaking parts. Horne, who had appeared in the role of Julie in a “Show Boat” scene in a 1946 movie about Jerome Kern, seemed a logical choice for the 1951 movie, but the part went to a white actress, Ava Gardner, who did not sing.

“Metro’s cowardice deprived the musical (genre) of one of the great singing actresses,” film historian John Kobal wrote.

“She was a very angry woman,” said film critic-author-documentarian Richard Schickel, who worked with Horne on her 1965 autobiography.

“It’s something that shaped her life to a very high degree. She was a woman who had a very powerful desire to lead her own life, to not be cautious and to speak out. And she was a woman, also, who felt in her career that she had been held back by the issue of race. So she had a lot of anger and disappointment about that.”

Early in her career, Horne cultivated an aloof style out of self-preservation. Later, she embraced activism, breaking loose as a voice for civil rights and as an artist. In the last decades of her life, she rode a new wave of popularity as a revered icon of American popular music.

Her 1981 one-woman Broadway show, “Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music,” won a special Tony Award, and the accompanying album, produced by Jones, earned her two Grammy Awards. (Horne won another Grammy, in 1995 for “An Evening With Lena Horne.”) In it, the 64-year-old singer used two renditions – one straight and the other gut-wrenching – of “Stormy Weather” to give audiences a glimpse of the spiritual odyssey of her five-decade career.

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne was born in Brooklyn on June 30, 1917, to a leading family in black society. Her daughter, Gail Lumet Buckley, wrote in her 1986 book “The Hornes: An American Family” that among their relatives was Frank Horne, an adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

She was largely raised by her grandparents as her mother, Edna Horne, who pursued a career in show business and father Teddy Horne separated. Lena dropped out of high school at age 16 and joined the chorus line at the Cotton Club, the fabled Harlem night spot where the entertainers were black and the clientele white. She left the club in 1935 to tour with Noble Sissle’s orchestra, billed as Helena Horne, the name she continued using when she joined Charlie Barnet’s white orchestra in 1940.

A movie offer from MGM came when she headlined a show at the Little Troc nightclub with the Katherine Dunham dancers in 1942.

Her success led some blacks to accuse Horne of trying to “pass” in a white world with her light complexion. Max Factor even developed an “Egyptian” makeup shade especially for her. But she refused to go along with the studio’s efforts to portray her as an exotic Latina.

“I don’t have to be an imitation of a white woman that Hollywood sort of hoped I’d become,” Horne once said. “I’m me, and I’m like nobody else.”

Horne was only 2 when her grandmother, a prominent member of the Urban League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, enrolled her in the NAACP. But she avoided activism until 1945 when she was entertaining at an Army base and saw German prisoners of war sitting up front while black American soldiers were consigned to the rear.

That pivotal moment channeled her anger into something useful.

She got involved in various social and political organizations and, partly because of a friendship with singer-actor-activist Paul Robeson, was blacklisted during the red-hunting McCarthy era.

By the 1960s, Horne was one of the most visible celebrities in the civil rights movement, once throwing a lamp at a customer who made a racial slur in a Beverly Hills restaurant and, in 1963, joining 250,000 others in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. Horne also spoke at a rally that year with another civil rights leader, Medgar Evers, just days before his assassination.

The next decade brought her first to a low point, then to a fresh burst of artistry. She appeared in her last movie in 1978, playing Glinda the Good in “The Wiz,” directed by her son-in-law, Sidney Lumet.

Horne had married MGM music director Lennie Hayton, a white man, in Paris in 1947 after her first overseas engagements in France and England. An earlier marriage to Louis J. Jones had ended in divorce in 1944 after producing daughter Gail and a son, Teddy.

“It was in Hollywood that Horne met her second husband, Lennie Hayton, who was also her musical mentor at MGM. He was also white. When the couple announced their marriage in 1950 — three years after it had actually occurred, they were confronted with angry rejection from the Hollywood community. Despite all the difficulties of a racially mixed marriage, their union flourished, lasting from 1947 until Hayton’s death in 1971.”

Her father, her son and Hayton all died in 1970 and 1971, and the grief-stricken singer secluded herself, refusing to perform or even see anyone but her closest friends. One of them, comedian Alan King, took months persuading her to return to the stage, with results that surprised her.

“I looked out and saw a family of brothers and sisters,” she said. “It was a long time, but when it came I truly began to live.”

And she discovered that time had mellowed her bitterness.

“I wouldn’t trade my life for anything,” she said, “because being black made me understand.”


speaking of golden…

Tonight’s the night!!  Ms. Betty White is hosting SNL and I am so freaking excited!  I joined the facebook group ages ago, so of course I feel personally responsible for this magical night of entertainment.  Actually, long before it was cool to love Betty White, I loved Betty White.  It all started with Rose.  I have such a soft spot for Rose, although I’m pretty sure that the novelty of her naivete would quickly wear off if we ever met face to face.  I think what drew me in was the fact that Betty White reminded me of my Grandma, who didn’t take too kindly to that at first.  I think I probably said that Rose reminded me of her, which my grandmother took to mean that I thought she was kinda dumb.  She isn’t.  And it wasn’t Rose, it was Betty.  So pretty and so funny.  I was too young to know anything about Password, or The Mary Tyler Moore Show, or anything Betty that pre-dated Rose.  All I’m trying to say is that since I was nine years old, I have been a fan of Betty White.  She loves dogs!  She loves games!  She’s really good at the games!  She’s hilarious, and though she plays cute and innocent very well, she has a totally raunchy sense of humor.  About ten years ago I discovered Match Game reruns.  That’s when I was struck by the comedic genius of Betty White.  I could barely believe that that woman would one day morph into my beloved Rose.  Then there’s the animal loving.  It is still one of my greatest desires to not only meet Betty White, but to introduce her to my dog.  I always thought that would be Indy and that she would just melt when she saw him, but that ship has sailed.  Now I think she’d get a kick out of Oscar because he is super-cute and super-funny.  I’m still hanging on to that dream.  I should probably head over to Rockefeller Center with the dog and spend today waiting for Betty White.  I’m not going to though.

who knew!?

Dean Martin Celebrity Roast of Betty White

lucky dogs!!

Mrs. Weezmer aka “Witch Lady” on My Name is Earl

Thank you, Betty White!! xoxo!

happy 40th anniversary, sesame street! xoxo!

SS.OscarCakeFood Network’s Challenge Sesame Street Cake

As Sesame Street celebrates its 40th Anniversary, Time Magazine wonders whether President Barack Obama is our first president from Sesame Street.

“The President is every bit as much a product of the show, but it’s not just his age and mastery of the alphabet that make Obama the first Sesame Street President,” writes Nancy Gibbs in Time, in the cleverly titled “Tickle Me Obama: Lessons from Sesame Street.” “The Obama presidency is a wholly American fusion of optimism, enterprise and earnestness — rather like the far-fetched proposal of 40 years ago to create a TV show that would prove that educational television need not be an oxymoron.”

Meanwhile, in Newsweek, Lisa Guernsey gives us the story of “The Show that Counts: How Sesame Street Changed the World.”

“It is, arguably, the most important children’s program in the history of television,” writes Guernsey. “No show has affected the way we think about education, parenting, childhood development and cultural diversity, both in the United States and abroad, more than Big Bird and friends. You might even say that Sesame Street changed the world, one letter at a time.”

Guernsey goes on to give a wonderful detailed history of the development of the show, from its days created by the Childrens Television Workshop to now, and the spectacular effect it’s had on the ability of television to be both an entertainment and education vehicle.

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Today’s kids have Big Bird in common with their parents and possibly their grandparents. That kind of thing may only be possible on “Sesame Street.”

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GOOGLE CELEBRATES SESAME STREET’S 40th ANNIVERSARY


speaking of candle on the water

I never should have brought that up because now I cannot stop thinking about Pete’s Dragon.  After Annie, this was my favorite movie as a child.  I think I’ve tried to block it out.  I loved it so much!  I was terrified of Shelley Winters.  This movie is all I know of the work of Mickey Rooney.  It’s just so darn good.  I need to rent it asap.

Petes_Dragon_SW11704

My record looked like the above.  I remember playing it over and over on my grandparent’s record player that was one of those huge cabinet type things with a record player in it.  I would try to act the whole thing out by myself in the living room.  I probably only did that once, but the memory is so very vivid that it seems like I did it every day or something.

A few fun facts from the movie:
- It was the first Disney film to be released on VHS
- The song “Candle on the Water” received an academy award nomination
- The movie was actually filmed in California and the crew had to get special permission from the Coast Guard to use the lighthouse so it wouldn’t confuse passing ships.
- There’s an episode of Family Guy with a parody of the movie (involving Ben Stiller)

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One last thing…

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Women working on Pete’s Dragon in Walt Disney’s Ink and Paint Department which was off limits to male artists.