I recently watched Girl Crazy starring Judy Garland and Micky Rooney. Gershwin music & songs made for a diverting movie though the actually excuse of a script wasted time that should have been spent on songs. Judy is astonishing though. Her acting is better than needed and her singing, even at that age, was a force to be reckoned with. The story of how Hollywood treated her is well-known – needless to say Hollywood has never known what to do with such colossal talent beyond control & monetize it. Judy didn’t have what it took to resist their manipulation.
I’ve a pair of cds that are transfers from lps: Judy Garland’s Best & 16 greatest hits. Best was a double compilation from her movies. So many classics that have been covered by countless singers but none have matched the emotional power of Garland. The longing of You Made Me Love You or Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas is palpable – songs that can still push my emotional buttons with not only nostalgia but a sadness for how she was manipulated by Hollywood. She was their cash cow not a brilliant sensitive performer.
16 Greatest Hits is a late career live performance. It was on some obscure Italian label that I came across at, maybe, Sam’s. Her voice is still strong but unsteady. A few of the Best of songs appear here – such as Over The Rainbow. There is a bit of audience patter between songs. It does include perhaps my favourite of her songs – The Man That Got Away – with an evocative sax accompaniment that underlines her emotionally commitment to the song. That’s one of the reasons I find her so compelling – she sings with an emotional commitment to to the lyric that few performers do without over-singing in that Star Search way. I believe her joy and her sadness.
That she became a gay icon is no surprise. I wouldn’t call myself a fan. I’ve enjoyed her movies, watched her TV shows on youtube but that has been enough for me. She wore her troubles on her face and her voice. Vulnerable without being melodramatic. She’s the gift that got away.
Jack watched the reflection of the sun on his axe as it flashed through the air. He saw the reflection the moment before the blade sunk into the wood. The bite was solid, clean and with just enough force to do the job and no more. He was a man in control of his body, of his instrument.
He stood to wipe the sweat off his brow. He watched as Little Red walked along the path into the wood. He felt pride. His daughter. She was perfect in all ways. Sweet face. Ready smile and happy laughter.
That was why he had married. He didn’t really want a wife but he wanted a daughter. A child. Something of his own besides the cottage and the forest. They were things, she was a life.
A son would be nice too but Mabel wasn’t ready for more. Some enchantment of her mother’s he supposed. Women in these parts didn’t seem to bear more than one child in a life time.
His axe bit into another length of tree. Swing. Thwang. White chunks of the wood fall to the forest floor. The chop echoed a moment and stopped.
He strained his ears to hear the hum of her. Little Red’s song as she skipped along the path, he saw that picture clear in his mind.
His eyes focused on the axe, almost mirror like, his face a slippery smear of eyes and mouth. His mind’s eye saw Little Red stop and face the wolf before going on.
She wasn’t safe as long as there was a predator in the wood. His wood.
‘Jack! Jack.’ his wife called. She stood at the edge of the clearing, waving her apron. ‘You must eat now. I have a lunch spread for you. Come.’
‘Yes. I’ll be there shortly.’
His axe danced through the air to split another log.
‘No, Jack you must come now. You think I slaved all morning just to have to tell me to wait. No. Come now.’
He looked to her and sighed. Even when she meant well she gave him no peace. Never a moment to breath. One task after the other.
He stroked the sharp blade of the axe and headed into the wood along the path Little Red had taken.
March 8, Thursday – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam Workshop: 4 pm at Glad Day with D’Scribe.
March 8, Thursday – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam Slam: 8 pm Buddies In Bad Times Theatre Feature D’Scribe
HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam
June 8-9 – Capturing Fire 2018 – Washington D.C. (flight & hotel already booked) capfireslam.org