Monday, November 28, 2022

Goodbye, Irene Cara

I was shocked over the weekend to see that Irene Cara had died. I remember her from the movie Fame and of course belting out the song "What a Feeling" from Flashdance. She was a tlented entertainer and it seems she left us much too soon. Check out some information posted on ABC Entertainment: 

 During her career, Cara had three Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including “Breakdance,” “Fame” and “Flashdance ... What A Feeling,” which spent six weeks at No. 1. She was behind some of the most joyful, high-energy pop anthems of the early ’80s, including “Out Here On My Own” and “Why Me?” She first came to prominence among the young actors playing performing arts high schoolers in Alan Parker's “Fame,” with co-stars Debbie Allen, Paul McCrane and Anne Meara. Cara played Coco Hernandez, a striving dancer who endures all manner of deprivations..."

“How bright our spirits go shooting out into space, depends on how much we contributed to the earthly brilliance of this world. And I mean to be a major contributor!” she says in the movie. Cara sang on the soaring title song with the chorus — “Remember my name/I’m gonna live forever/I’m gonna learn how to fly/I feel it coming together/People will see me and cry” — which would go on to be nominated for an Academy Award for best original song. She also sang on “Out Here on My Own,” "Hot Lunch Jam" and “I Sing the Body Electric.” 
The New York-born Cara began her career on Broadway, with small parts in short-lived shows, although a musical called “The Me Nobody Knows” ran over 300 performances. She toured in the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar" as Mary Magdalene in the mid-1990s and a tour of the musical ”Flashdance" toured 2012-14 with her songs. She also created the all-female band Irene Cara Presents Hot Caramel and put out a double CD with the single “How Can I Make You Luv Me.” Her movie credits include ”Sparkle" and “D.C. Cab.” 

Goodbye, Irene and thank you for sharing your talent! Are you familiar with the work of Irene Cara? 
 
Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, November 21, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy your family and have a very Happy Thanksgiving! I'll be back next week with another post.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Julia Sand: Encouragement in a Time of Crisis

So just who was Julia Sand? I'd never heard of her until I read Candice Millard's Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President, an amazing account of James A. Garfield's life and the assassination attempt on him while serving as president.

Garfield, an extraordinary man, was actually nominated for president against his will.  However, four months after his inauguration, he was shot in the back by the deranged Charles Guiteau, who'd sought a political office in Garfield's administration.

It wasn't the would-be assassin's bullet that killed the president, but rather the medical treatment Garfield received.  As Garfield suffered for nearly two months, the nation was thrown into turmoil, and during this time, Vice President Chester A. Arthur ( a not so extraordinary man) stayed in seclusion. When Guiteau was apprehended he announced his wish for Arthur to become president.  Because of this, there was a brief investigation into whether Guiteau had been hired by Garfield’s enemies.

Although no proof was found to support this, there were threats made on Arthur’s life and he feared making public appearances. Arthur’s past was linked to some scandals involving the New York Customhouse and many thought Arthur as president would mean disaster for the country.

Here's where Julia Sand fits into the equation.  She corresponded with Arthur beginning in late August of 1881, before Garfield's death.  Her last surviving letter is dated September 15, 1883. Sand referred to herself as the President’s “little dwarf”, alluding to the idea that in a royal court, the dwarf is the only one with courage enough to tell the truth.

Sand was an educated woman who lived in New York, yet when she began writing Arthur at age 31, she was bedridden due to spinal trouble, lameness and deafness.  What I'm posting below is a portion of Sand's first letter to the would-be president:

The day [Garfield] was shot, the thought rose in a thousand minds that you might be the instigator of the foul act. Is not that a humiliation which cuts deeper then any bullet can pierce?

Your kindest opponents say "Arthur will try to do right"– adding gloomily –"He won’t succeed though making a man President cannot change him."

…But making a man President can change him! Great emergencies awaken generous traits which have lain dormant half a life. If there is a spark of true nobility in you, now is the occasion to let it shine. Faith in your better nature forces me to write to you – but not to beg you to resign. Do what is more difficult & brave. Reform!
It is not proof of highest goodness never to have done wrong, but it is proof of it, sometimes in ones career, to pause & ponder, to recognize the evil, to
recognize the evil, to turn resolutely against it…. Once in awhile there comes a
crisis which renders miracles feasible. The great tidal wave of sorrow which has
rolled over the country has swept you loose from your old moorings & set you on
a mountaintop, alone.

Disappoint our fears. Force the nation to have faith in you. Show from the first
that you have none but the purest of aims.

You cannot slink back into obscurity, if you would. A hundred years hence,
school boys will recite you name in the list of Presidents & tell of your
administration. And what shall posterity say? It is for you to choose….

Apparently, her words of encouragement inspired and changed him. At the end of his presidency, Arthur earned praise from his contemporaries for his solid performance in office. In 1886, the New York World wrote: "No duty was  neglected in his administration, and no adventurous project alarmed the nation." And according to Mark Twain, "[I]t would be hard indeed to better President Arthur's administration."

Had you ever heard of Julia Sand? Also, can you think of anyone you can encourage today? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, November 7, 2022

Great Political Movies

November 8th is tomorrow, so be sure to get out and vote! In honor of election day, I'm listing some of my favorite political movies:


Citizen Kane
The Manchurian Candidate
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Meet John Doe
JFK
The Ides of March
All the President's Men
His Girl Friday
Seven Days in May
All the King's Men

I don't know about you, but I've had enough of radio and television ads for all the candidates, but I never tire of a good movie!  What are some of your favorite political movies?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, October 31, 2022

State of The Union

 Election season is upon us and news of the candidates, political debates, and primary elections across the nation are all over the news.


I can't say I'm a huge fan of politics, but I do enjoy political movies! Here's one I learned about a few years ago starring Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, and a young Angela Lansbury, Frank Capra's State of the Union. I'm a movie buff, but this one seems to have eluded me. 

Here's the synopsis from Wikipedia:
Republican newspaper magnate Kay Thorndyke (Angela Lansbury) intends to make her lover, aircraft tycoon Grant Matthews (Spencer Tracy), President of the United States with her as the power behind the throne. Thorndyke plans to use her newspaper chain's influence to deadlock the 1948 Republican National Convention, so it will choose Matthews as a compromise dark horse candidate instead of Dewey, Taft, or another.
Matthews is skeptical of the idea of running for president, but Thorndyke, Republican strategist Jim Conover (Adolphe Menjou), and campaign manager Spike McManus (Van Johnson) persuade him to run. Matthews reunites with estranged wife Mary (Katharine Hepburn) for the campaign. Despite knowing about Thorndyke and her husband's affair, Mary agrees to support him in public because of his idealism and honesty, and because she is unaware of Thorndyke's role in the campaign.


The politically naive Matthews makes a controversial speech in Wichita denouncing big labor. Before he makes another controversial speech in Detroit denouncing big business, Thorndyke secretly persuades him to moderate his tone to help his chances for the nomination. With her and Conover's help, Matthews makes deals with various special interests for their support.
Before a nationwide fireside chat from the Matthews' home, Mary learns of Thorndyke's continuing relationship with her husband and sees the deals that he has made.  Matthews realizes that he has betrayed his and Mary's ideals. On live radio, he denounces both his backers and himself as frauds, withdraws as a candidate while promising to seek bipartisan reform, and asks for his wife's forgiveness. When his backers attempt to turn off the speech, he angrily calls out, "Don't cut me off, I paid for this broadcast!" 

Is this a movie you're familiar with? If so, any thoughts you'd like to share?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!