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December 24, 2009


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I aspire to be more like Ava - she's a terrific tough broad with a big heart. Not to mention gorgeous.

(Artie Shaw was a jerk to all his wives. And to most women. If he hadn't played clarinet like an angel, someone would have dropped a piano on his head.)

She was heart-breaking in "Showboat," but my favorite Ava Gardner performance is in the oft-scorned "Night of the Iguana." I think she really caught the tragic but indomitable essence of Maxine Faulk, a woman who is past her prime but whose gusto is not. A brave role for Garnder, too - showing she was an artist as well as a movie star.

I wonder what the synastry between her chart and Frank Sinatra's charts looked like.

Probably like a mushroom cloud.

I'm often mistaken for Ava Gardner.

LO, I think you're right about "Night of the Iguana" (though about all I remember of that pic is the song, "The Shadow of Your Smile"). And you're almost certainly right about Artie Shaw. Yet I have a soft spot for Abraham Arthur Arshawsky, who faced so much anti-Semitism as a boy that he was determined to excel at anything he tried: he was ranked #4 among marksmen in the US and was an adroit fly-fisherman in addition to playing "Begin the Beguine" most brilliantly.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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This Way Out

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Ringfinger was nervous
Pinky terrified
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