May 31st, 2009

And speaking of happiness…

….(which we were)….If this doesn’t make you happy, at least for a couple of minutes, then I don’t know what will:

14 Responses to “And speaking of happiness…”

  1. vanderleun Says:

    I watched it twice, but it’s not good. I am still sunk in the slough of despond.

  2. vanderleun Says:

    Watched it again. Think I have to kill myself now.

  3. vanderleun Says:

    Tried once more on Xanax. No bueno. I’m a goner.

  4. bad haikumenter Says:

    Woman needs dance with man
    Like fish needs H2O
    FU NOW

  5. Clay Jones Says:

    When I watch a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers dance sequence, I don’t usually truly observe it… I just get lost in the marvel and sheer entertainment of it. This time as I was watching it, I actually began to observe it. And I was surprised by what I saw. So I went back and watched it twice. Once, I just looked at Ginger Rogers. The second time, I looked only at Fred Astaire. The differences were startling to me.

    Ginger Rogers’ arms and hands were not very expressive. She either held them somewhat statically away from her body, or she grasped her skirt at about mid-hip and held the skirt up to expose her legs above the knees as she did her fancier footwork. And even her footwork was comparatively subdued. She spent almost the entire time with her center of gravity over her feet. Two of the three times that she actually left the ground in a completely unbalanced move (jumping the rails), she was being held by Fred. Only on the last leap was she entirely on her own.

    Fred on the other hand was far more expressive with his hands and arms… at times engaging in fairly extreme gestures. He also kicked higher and spent much more time in “dynamic balance”… with his center of gravity NOT over his feet, seemingly in the act of falling down until he brings his legs back under him. And also, he seems to do almost all of the tap dancing.

    How much of this is style (Fred’s vice Ginger’s). How much is cultural preference/expectation of that time (desired men’s behavior vice women’s)? How much is due to equipment (trousers and spats with flat soles vice skirt and high heels)? How much was due to gender power (Fred designing and choreographing the dance to show off Fred’s strengths)?

    I have absolutely NO expertise regarding dance. So I have no answers. I’m just surprised at the difference. I’ve heard it said that “Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did only she did it backwards and in high heels.” But that’s not entirely true, is it? What she did was similar to, but different from (and less flashy than) Fred Astaire. I wonder how she danced when SHE did the choreography?

  6. neo-neocon Says:

    vanderleun:

    Don’t despair; try cantaloupe.

    And after that, try this:

    The lyric to the above number might help, too:

    And if all else fails, there’s always ice cream.

  7. neo-neocon Says:

    Clay Jones: one of the most famous observations about the pair (by Katherine Hepburn) was: She gives him sex, he gives her class.

    Hepburn was onto something. The sum was most definitely greater than the parts. Astaire was a much better soloist, and technician, and detail man, and choreographer, than Rogers. But Rogers offered something no other partner he ever danced with, before or after, was able to give. Hepburn called it “sex” (she probably meant “sexuality;” the two never had any sort of sexual or romantic relationship, according to all reports). We can call it anything we want. But whatever it was, it was the perfect complement to Astaire’s attributes.

  8. dane Says:

    Comment by Fred Austerlitz after Astaire’s first screen test….

    “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Balding. Can dance a little.”

    but he could dance. He had a “je ne sais quois” that translated.

    Funny, when I watch the STARS (?) of today at awards shows (what little I can take) most seem totally uncomfortable in their Tuxes and Gowns. The average middle class couple going to a cocktail party or a supper club back in Astaire’s day would put the stars to sahme.

    We have lost something grand.

  9. Mr. Frank Says:

    Good stuff! Whenever I see these old movies of the 30′s and 40′s I’m always struck by the glamour and elegance in juxtaposition with the grim reality of the times. Even the movie gangsters dressed well. Movie attendance was relatively cheap, and people needed an escape.

  10. Tatyana Says:

    Neo, but it’s not the season for cantaloupe yet! And I procrastinated too long to buy rhubarb for a strawberry/rhubarb crumble…

  11. vanderleun Says:

    Cantaloupe? CantaLOUPE?! Oh, God, just shoot me now.

  12. Fausta Says:

    MMmmmm! Fred & Ginger!

  13. Clay Jones Says:

    neoneocon,

    You said that what Ginger gave Fred “was the perfect complement to Astaire’s attributes.” Yes… that feels correct: sexuality and class. In my post, I was fumbling towards an idea that hadn’t really crystallized for me (I know far too little about dance to critique it with any depth). But I think your comment nailed it.

    If Fred and Ginger had simply mirrored the same style and movement, the dance would have been significantly less interesting. Their dance is such a marvel BECAUSE their styles were so complementary.

  14. dane Says:

    It’s so darn hard to find a melon anymore that tastes like it should taste. Every now and then though. Junior high and high school in Colorado and back in those days the Rocky Ford cantaloupes from the valley of the same name in Colorado were prized as the “best in the US”.

    Good Prosciutto and cantaloupe is one of my favorites but since little luck with the orange melons lately and good luck with watermelons I tried prosciutto with that and it was darn good.

    Sometimes there is serendipity

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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