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June 03, 2012

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Poetic seduction indeed. At "cigarette" she should leave, but . . . My favorite is also "Swing Time."

My first Astaire / Rogers in a movie theatre was a double bill of "Top Hat" and "Swing Time." I didn't think anything could surpass "Top Hat" (music by Irving Berlin; big number "Cheek to Cheek") until I saw "Swing Time" with Fred as Lucky Garnet shooting dice for the control of a band. The melody of "A Fine Romance" immediately installed itself on my mind, and I have heard dozens of covers since, from Billie Holiday's to Marilyn Monroe's; but the rest of that magical score ("Pick Yourself Up," "The Way You Look Tonight," "Bojangles of Harlem," and "Never Gonna Dance")soon caught up. Jerome Kern married his operatic sublime with the swing tempo of the day, and Dorothy Fields's best lyrics spice up the marriage. The dances -- especially for "Pick Yourself Up" and "Never Gonna Dance" -- were magnificent: in a comic register for the former, and with unmatched grandiloquence and erotic glory in the second. (Arlene Croce has an excellent analysis.) So they are still one-two in my book: "Swing Time" and "Top Hat," with "Shall We Dance?" (the Gershwins) in third place. -- DL

"Shall We Dance"

I loved this piece in the NY Times, too, and I want the book.

Thanks, Stacey. This burned a hole in my computer screen. (And the
earth moved!)

"Swing Time," too. Missed the piece in the Times; what does she say about
his smacking his hands after he's "finished" ...?

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Radio

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

THE RULE OF THUMB
by T.P.Winch

Ringfinger was nervous
Pinky terrified
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.

 

 


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