Intern George, on the ground in London, reports that the London 2012 Oympics have added a third mascot, who joins the original one-eyed twins, Wenlock and Mandeville. Mike Wazowski, co-star of the film Monsters Inc., has reportedly been brushing up on his British accent for the event.
Summer means book shilling-and-signing, which is a terribly exciting prospect, but an exhausting one for an introvert. Just like teaching! Introverts who toil in a profession that favors extroverts need downtime to recover. While writing is a very introverted activity, selling is not. So I have taken on a passel of extrovert interns for the summer to "pinch blog" for me when I am in recovery mode.
Dedicated or intermittent readers (or late arrivals who have surfed the categories) will recognize these faces...
Intern Bruce: Though he is in Budapest, Hungary filming his latest Die Hard flick, "A Good Day to Die Hard," (the title is enough to make one swoon in the stacks) he eagerly agreed to contribute posts... something about lots of downtime waiting for the cinematographer and gaffers and best boys to get their, er, stuff together. Don't laugh! He's surprisingly erudite for an action hero. And he has already contributed a post, History of Hair: Part I, on The Mullet, a 'do which he swears he's never worn... and I confess I have been unable to find any photographic evidence to the contrary.
Intern George: Although he is in the middle of a European tour re-imagining his hits with the assistance of a full orchestra, writing new songs, and soon to enter rehearsals as one of the acts in the Closing Ceremonies for the August 2012 Olympics in London, he graciously offered to pen a few posts. The man is simply indefatigable!
50 Shades of Gosling
Intern Ryan: the Librarian's favorite pin-up volunteered to whip up some new memes, although I told him that cat-centric submissions would be perfectly acceptable. Ryan has been dashing around his native Canada lately, visiting Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, last week to see his mother, Donna, graduate with a bachelor's in education. He also visited Niagara Falls (on the Canadian side) with gal pal Eva Mendes. He promises to send a post with pix on his "Ya-hey-der" adventures.
I tried to coax James Franco into contributing a few poems, but unfortunately he feels that he is just too over-committed to do right by the task, as he is finishing up some short stories, directing dance pieces and exhibiting multimedia art, including an exhibition this month at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles called "Rebel," based on the James Dean movie Rebel Without a Cause, all while working on degrees from Columbia and Yale. I'm exhausted just contemplating that schedule!
I'm with the band... in Tel Aviv.
Madonna volunteered to scribble a few posts (most likely driven by self-interest in promoting her MDNA tour), but I turned her down... alas, one diva is more than enough for this blog.
This semi-vicious attack appeared in the inbox this morning, contents slightly redacted:
"Yo --- you two-timing, book-shelving [********]! I thought I was your sweetheart of the rodeo. Yippee-kay-ay [*********]!
I must admit, it was rather thrilling, in an E.L. James sort of way!
This JPEG was attached:
Apparently, the librarian's action hero, Bruce Willis, took offense at my previous post in which I proclaimed George Michael as our favorite prom date. And I confess that Bruce never entered my mind as a prom date, given the fact that I usually see him in various stages along the way to becoming a bloodied, if triumphant, hot mess. Alas, I did forget entirely about his Moonlighting phase, in which he spent plenty of time investigating crimes in a finely tailored suit or tuxedo, and he does indeed look rather dashing when he's cleaned up. (Or am I confusing Moonlighting with Remington Steele!?!?)
But can he dance?
Given the fact that I work with elementary school students, I turned at once to the beloved Venn diagram!
Hmmmm, not a lot of overlap there. I guess it all depends on what kind of an evening you are looking for...
If you read our Chinese Footbinding post, you know that we recently went shopping for prom shoes. Well, yesterday we snagged some prom bling and today we completed our prom purchasing with the selection of a prom purse. At least one young man in our circle of friends does not understand the concept of a prom purse. "Why don't girls just carry their regular purses?" If you have to ask, you just don't get it. And this budding intellectual is headed off to Vanderbilt University, where I am sure (or I hope) the brainy belles will enlighten him at some point on the necessity of coordinated fashion accessories. (He did, apparently, elect to go the cummerbund route for his tux, instead of the vest, showing a bit of flair in his sartorial choices.) Anyway, this flurry of prom activity led me to scour the Internet for some celebrity prom photos. Inquiring minds! My search turned up over 94 million results, of which I am sure that most were not very pertinent (at least I hope they weren't). But I include for your perusal, links for the best results at The Daily Beast and Beauty Riot and Oh No They Didn't!.
I was unable to find a prom photo of our favorite prom date, George
Michael, but I did find this:
We used to call them mix tapes...and then mix CDs, and then they became playlists on MP3 players, and now we can arrange them on Spotify... whatever... but if you are hanging with your librarian besties and you need some tunes to rock the house, here's another one by Canadian band Moxy Fruvous (from their 1993 album Bargainville). These guys name-drop Gabriel Garcia-Marquez and Michael Ondaatje, come up with a clever rhyme for Mario Puzo and find a way to toss in Doris Lessing as well. Turns out they wrote it in honor of a Toronto authors' festival. (Note to Printers Row Lit Fest: check into a theme song for next year!)
@George Michael: if you cover this one and the Julian Smith ditty on your comeback album, I'll guarantee a built-in librarian audience. Maybe write a librarian song of your own and send it in to the Lit Fest committee. And then book a performance at the intimate Chicago Theatre.
Unfortunately, these guys are no longer making satirical, politically-aware music together. But they deserve a place in the Librarians' Music Hall of Fame for another of their songs: a jazz-flavored, hip-hop riff on Green Eggs and Ham.
And then, always appropriate for April 1st, there's George Michael's Kissing a Fool:
Announcing my latest literary endeavor... the soon-to-be-published biography:
Pre-publication kudos for Bringing Sexy Back: The Resurrection of George Michael:
"If I still recommended books, I'd recommend this one!" -- Oprah
"A masterpiece!" -- James Frey
"Nonfiction that reads like a novel; kept me up at night!" -- Margaret "B. Jones" Seltzer
"Wish I'd thought of this one!" -- Clifford Irving
After having spent two afternoons spring cleaning, including windows, I realized why the world needs George. Like Frank, he just makes everything more enjoyable. Classy, swanky, whatever. George even makes scouring the nooks and crannies of window sills tolerable! This guy, Johnbr02, understands:
And so does this guy:
And him, too:
And he's not just a pretty face; he actually knows music:
Today I pose the question: Aging superstar most in need of a comeback?
My answer: George Michael
While I am sure that he would insist that he never left, I would posit that his potent, velvety-smooth voice has been missing from the top-of-the-pops scene for far too long. The man has one of the most versatile and beautiful voices ever recorded; he needs to be heard---NOW!
When you think of 80's pop music, you probably think of Madonna, Duran Duran, the Bangles, Prince, Michael Jackson, and, yes, Wham!, the duo that George formed with his boyhood chum Andrew Ridgeley (who is definitely residing in the "where are they now?" file).
The Wham! era saw George blossom as a singer-songwriter possessed of pure pop craftsmanship. Even today, songs such as "Careless Whisper" and "Everything She Wants" sound fresh because of their precise construction. Okay, the synthesizers sound a little old in 2012 and that saxophone break in "Whisper" is a little cheesy, but I dare you to resist the glamorous melodies and the tight, spot-on lyrics. "Freedom" riffs on the luscious 60's girl-group sounds and "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" sounds as stupidly bouncy as ever!
In the late 80's, George went solo and produced Faith, the album and the single, which resonated with its Bo Diddley beat. It's the epitome of a butt-shaker. Then there's the kinda-creepy, kinda-compelling "Father Figure:" "I will be your father figure, put your tiny hand in mine..." Hmmm, okay, let's not go there. Let's just enjoy the transcendant beauty of the music and the voice as the bridge overwhelms us and we do remember the ones who have lied, who said that they cared but then left as we cried and George reassures us that we won't be thinking of him in these moments because all he ever wanted... "is in your eyes."
In 1990, George took his Eighties pop sensibility and broadened and refined it
on Listen Without Prejudice, Volume I. The somber lead single, "Praying for Time," took a distraught look at the world's festering wounds (and is still astonishingly relevant to our society now, in 2012). In "Freedom 90," which combines dance beats with soaringly vital gospel choruses, George shared confessional secrets with his audience and challenged us to rise above. He wised-up enough to admit that, in the past, "it was enough for me, to win the race, a prettier face, brand new clothes and a big fat place, on your rock and roll TV." But he was endeavoring to leave the apparently embarrassing butt-shaking Faith era behind: "Posing for another picture, everybody's got to sell, but when you shake your ***, they notice fast, and some mistakes were built to last." This is a far cry from the man who unabashedly titled a Wham! album Make It Big. Here was a singer who wanted to be taken seriously as an artist.
Unfortunately, George's fans seemed to prefer the butt-shaker, because Listen Without Prejudice, while a million-seller, never reached the heights of multi-platinum Faith. He fought with his record company, released a couple of CDs, came out, but never regained his place at pop's pinnacle. In 2008, George withdrew from touring, saying he wanted a "more private life" and that, at 45, he felt a bit old for the game: "I think pop music should be about youth culture," he told the BBC. "It shouldn't be an endurance test."
Well, I'm here to say he's wrong. Some areas of pop culture may be for youth, but did Frank Sinatra cede pop music to the young? Hell, in his early 50's, he was topping the charts with "A Very Good Year," "Strangers in the Night," and his collaborations with Antonio Carlos Jobim. Did Tony Bennett cede pop music to the young? He's still recording duets in his mid-80's, and sounding fab. So why not George Michael?
This is an artist whose songs have been covered by everyone from Rufus Wainwright and Ben Folds to Limp Bizkit. He's sold 100 million records. George, wake up and smell the coffee! Your silver-tongued voice is still needed!
I propose an album of standards (yes, I know you did something like that awhile back with Songs from the Last Century, but you have to admit your choice of material on that one was quirky to say the least). Take on the Great American Songbook: try some Gershwin, have a go at Cole Porter, croon a Rodgers and Hart tune! If croaker Rod Stewart can do it, you can-- and better!
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