In an opinion piece titled “Hollywood’s Fake Version of Nina Simone,” the New York Times’ Brent Staples takes on the decision to cast Zoe Saldana as Ms. Simone in the upcoming film Nina. The casting controversy involves whether or not Ms. Saldana’s skin is dark enough, especially considering that, as Staples writes, “Ms. Simone’s embrace of her blackness was essential to both her art and who she was as a person, and that any number of talented[…] Continue reading »
Man of the blues,
Sing me a song
Plead, moan and holler those blues.
Of love and passion
And joy and sadness;
Of being alone
and being together;
Of payback to enemies,
My Funny Valentine
What is There to Say?
Swinging baritone sax
in cool love
I have been spending some time recently with an excellent new book, What the Eye Hears — A History of Tap Dancing. Written by New York Times dance critic Brian Seibert, the book — recently named a finalist for the National Book Critics Award in Nonfiction — is an informative, entertaining history of tap dancing, and a reminder of its central role in American popular culture. A particularly interesting part of its history is its relation to jazz music, especially in the vaudeville circuit and in the nightclubs of the early twentieth century.
Regarding this, Seibert wrote in an email to me: “Jazz and tap dancing grew up together. Both came, in W.C. Handy’s words, ‘down the same drain’ of minstrelsy, and origin stories for ragtime include the syncopated stepping of
He surrounded us with his sound
He was the safety net when the tightrope
Can you hear him?
There is a new thunder in the sky