No Business Like Shoe Business: Hobson’s Choice

A delightful dance from The Birmingham Royal Ballet in David Bintley’s Hobson’s Choice, about the three daughters of a shoestore owner. With Stephen Wicks as Albert Prosser and Chenca Williams as Alice Hobson.

Thanks to YouTuber Ballet archive

Fine and Dandy: Anita O’Day

Comedian Art Metrano died this month. You can see his most famous routine here. The name of the ultra-annoying show-biz tune Metrano hums incessantly in the background is actually a lovely song called “Fine and Dandy.” Anita O’Day shows just how fine and dandy the song can be.

Fun fact: The music for “Fine and Dandy” was written by Kay Swift, but the lyrics were written by Swift’s husband, James Paul Warburg, who was a banker and financial advisor to FDR, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations who wrote about nuclear disarmament issues. He wrote the lyrics to “Fine and Dandy” under the pseudonym of Paul James.

Further Fun Fact: Warburg divorced Swift because she had been having a long-term affair with George Gershwin.

Thanks to YouTuber Phillip Primrose

Too Soon: Comedy After 9/11

In the face of immediate public loss and public mourning, how does a society know when it’s okay to return to normal interactions? And especially if you’re a professional comedian, how do you know when it’s no longer “Too Soon”? I was happy to be talking with Nick Scown, the director of Too Soon: Comedy After 9/11, a film about the aftermath of 9/11, and its impact on comedy and professional jokesters. Also joining Nick in the conversation are two comedians featured in the film, Maz Jobrani and Ahmed Ahmed.

Click the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the interview, as broadcast today on Arts Express on WBAI FM NYC, and Pacifica stations across the country.

Hello: A Cappella Cover

From Josh Turner’s college days. It takes a bit of time to get off the ground, but once it does, it’s really good.

Lauren King on the right; Austin Long in the hoodie; Amber Ordaz back row right; Taylor Neita on the left, and Josh Turner beatboxing.

More at Amber Taylor Music

A Hunger Artist: Franz Kafka

More and more today’s world is looking Kafkaesque, so I thought this week we’d go back to the original. The Franz Kafka’s short story, “A Hunger Artist,” was published in final form in 1924. In it, Kafka tells a tale that almost any artist today can identify with. Kafka edited the story on his death bed as he lay dying from tuberculosis at the age of 40.

Click on the grey triangle or mp3 link above to hear the story, which I adapted and performed, broadcast today on Arts Express on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the country.

Secret Identity Uncovered

(Click to enlarge)

These little guys had me puzzled–so many sandpipers look alike to me! But when they did a short flight, they gave themselves away: their white rumps in flight marked them as–what else?–White-rumped Sandpipers. A first for me.

Plumb Beach

Brooklyn, New York

Dylan Rehearses “We Are The World”

I thought this was really fascinating: Bob Dylan, clearly out of his element, singing a song not his own, but wanting to contribute to this charity release. He seems to me scared, humble, and persistent. Fun seeing him around Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Lionel Ritchie and Quincey Jones.

Thanks to YouTuber b52careofcell44

Savior For Sale: Da Vinci’s Lost Masterpiece?

Some fifteen years ago the art world was aghast over what was called the biggest discovery of the 21st century: a newly found painting by Leonardo Da Vinci. Originally bought for about $1000, it eventually sold at auction for an astounding record breaking 450 million Euros. But was all what it seemed? Was the painting really by Da Vinci? And who was the mysterious buyer? And who were the shadowy middle men and agents taking their cuts? Was the whole art world just one large international scam operation?  In a fascinating new documentary film, Savior For Sale: Da Vinci’s Lost Masterpiece?  the full tangled story is explored. I was happy to interview the director and writer of Savior For Sale, filmmaker Antoine Vitkine.

Click the triangle or mp3 link above to hear my interview with Antoine, as broadcast today on Arts Express on WBAI FM NYC, and Pacifica stations across the country.

Ronnie

Monday morning, 1964, The Four Seasons. This was not a number one hit for the Four Seasons, but still one of the great Bob Gaudio/Bob Crewe productions with the inimitable Frankie Valli.

Thanks to YouTuber Smurfstools Oldies Music Time Machine