After Christmas, there's things I look forward to:
1. the fact I don't have to listen to "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" for another year.
2. using gift cards friends and family give me.
3. The Kennedy Center Honors!!!
As you can tell by my exclamation points, my fave event is the Kennedy Center Honors. It's one of the rare times that you see Maria Tallchief sitting with Johnny Cash and Edward Albee. In fact, it's the only time you would see Maria Tallchief sitting with Johnny Cash and Edward Albee. When the audience gave Lauren Bacall a standing ovation, Bob Dylan put his fingers in his mouth and whistled. (No doubt he'd knew the dialogue Bacall gave to then husband Humphrey Bogart "If you want me, just whistle. You know how to whistle, don't ya? You just put your lips together and... blow") Here now is a couple of highlights from Kennedy Center Honors' past:
1. 1998: Alan Cumming was singing "Willkommen" for the tribute to John Kander and Fred Ebb. He turned around, then out of nowhere, ladies and gentlemen Joel Grey, the original MC! Grey continued to sing the song as Cumming strutted off. Cumming came back for the finale. Dueling MCs! Both gentlemen proved that they were equally great in their roles, and that life indeed is a cabaret.
2. Same year: When Bill Cosby was honored for his work, a man came up to the stage. He gave his name (I can't find it right now; google has let me down!) but Cosby knew who he was; he raised his fist in recognition to the man. Apparently the gentleman picked up Cosby when he was off to get a honorary degree. Cosby asked about the man. Where did he go to college? What did he like to read? The man told him he was a dropout, and couldn't read. Cosby then mentioned it in his speech for his honorary degree. It wasn't to shame the man; it was to tell him don't be ashamed. It's not too late. The man did learn how to read, then graduated from Vanderbilt University, "the Harvard of the South." If you're guessing this gentleman got a standing ovation and there wasn't a dry eye in the house, you would be right on both counts.
3. 1993: A year after Johnny Carson retired, he was bestowed a Kennedy Center Honor. Of course, David Letterman had a top ten list prepared. It was the top ten list of Things We Miss About Johnny Carson. Number ten? "Got laughs without cheap gimmicks like Top Ten List." The tribute was honest and touching. Almost twenty years later, Jimmy Kimmel would pay tribute to Letterman. The torch had passed.
4. 2003: Carol Burnett's tribute was saved for last. You knew then it had to be good, and it was. After a lovely tribute by Burnett's best friend Julie Andrews "Chum I love you" Scott Bakula and John Schneider sang varied songs as all the women who performed that night came out in Bob Mackie costumes that Burnett wore on The Carol Burnett Show. Elaine Stritch as Eunice! Kim Catrall as Zelda! Reba McEntire as Nora Desmond! (of course Harvey Korman as Max helped escort her down the stairs) Nathan Lane as Mrs. Wiggins (with Tim Conway as Mr. Tudball at hand) Julie Andrews as Starlet! Yep, she wore the green gown with the curtain rod attached. Then Bernadette Peters as the charwomman sang the old Carol Burnett theme song with everyone walking out, then tugged at their ears in salute to the woman who you'd always want to spend time with.
5. 2004: Elton John's tribute was last as well. Fantasia sang a beautiful cover of "Sorry is the Hardest Word" It wasn't televised, but Robert Downey Junior sang "Levon." Then Kid Rock came on. In his black t-shirt and blue jeans, he started singing "Saturday Night's All Right For Fighting." As he sang about wanting to get a bellyful of beer, the audience started clapping along. Suddenly, actress Julia Ormond stood up, clapping. Annette Bening (who was behind fellow honoree Warren Beatty) jumped up and started clapping. Michael York stood up, clapping. Jack Nicholson was clapping. Audra McDonald started singing along. Marilyn Horne clapped, with her granddaughter singing. Almost everyone in the room were on their feet, singing "Saturday! Saturday! Saturday's all right for fighting!" It didn't matter if you were Democrat or Republican, red state or blue state. All that mattered in that moment was Kid Rock was singing his heart out, and it was such a great song.
So if you want to know where I'll be Saturday night, it will be in front of my television. I'll have Kleenex ready in case I cry. I might alert the neighbors if I dance. Or sing.
Causes Jennifer Gibbons Supports
Gilda's Club, Greenpeace, Rosie's Broadway Kids,Westwind Foster Family Agency, Amber Brown Fund, Linda Duncan Fund for Contra Costa Libraries