1/4/14: How to Use this Site

Over the course of late 2012 and most of 2013, I spent every day finding clips to celebrate celebrity birthdays. It’s a wholly personal and therefore eclectic mix of people. I had to either like them or find them weirdly fascinating, in a car wreck sort of way.

Either search for a particular person; I’ve tagged pretty well, so you should be able to find them. You can also search on a day, which may or may not show up, but you should be able to get close and then page to the day you want. And of course, the archives provide an overview.

I began on October 13; previous archives are from another life lived in advertising.

You can also visit my other blog, nanarama.net, where, as of now, I’ll be ferreting out Netflix movies that coincide with the bdays here.

Have fun!

10/13: Art Tatum meets Marie Osmond and Maggie Thatcher and more

If you’re looking for today’s bdays, go here. There you’ll find Art Tatum playing Dvorak, Marie Osmond and her millions of teeth, an awesome opening credit sequence that pretty sums up Mrs. Thatcher, a Lenny Bruce rant, Yves Montand being all French and sexy, and Sacha Baron Cohen doing his awesome Kazakhschtick. Enjoy!

You can buy these dolls at Etsy! But like, what’s with the Marie doll’s head? It’s giant.

10/12: Hugh, Luciano, Goldine, and Mr. Bahamian Diet

I’ve come full circle, and I really truly did it: posted birthdays of famous people with clips for a solid year. As of tomorrow, you’ll be able to search on a day and find any bday you want. Thanks to my buddies, especially Angel Enjardin and Brian Hawkes (follow them: @cherubbookreviews, @bryanhawkes). Follow me, too: @brandingbroad. And now, let the games complete!

Here’s Hugh Jackman singing up a storm. If you haven’t seen him in a musical that’s not Les Miz (sorry, but beh), youtube this one in its entirety. It’s awesome.

Here’s the great Pavarotti singing one of his most memorable roles: Rodolfo in La Boheme.

How many movies are as grimly, car-wreck entertaining as Golden Girl? Note the singular. “Thank You for Being a Friend” will not be heard throughout this movie. Not even once.

Ending with a quote from elder statesman Dick Gregory. Yes, of late he’s gone a wee bit off the deep end, but that’s what prophets tend to do. Many more here.

“I am really enjoying the new Martin Luther King Jr stamp – just think about all those white bigots, licking the backside of a black man.”

Peace out, everyone. Celebrate EVERY day.

10/11: The Glorious Jerome Robbins

Once in a while, I can’t contain myself. Let’s start with Robbins’ first ballet, a great precursor to West Side Story, with both a Bernstein score and a breezy dance-off (not unlike “America”). City Ballet has put together these wonderful videos that give you a look at rehearsal and performance, tied together with dancer interviews.

And here’s West Side Story, specifically Cool. This clip sucks because it cuts right at the most thrilling part to pimp the service, but it’s good quality. You can watch a much worse quality but at least complete clip here.

In his Broadway ventures, Robbins was particular splendid at devising muscular, joyous dances for men. A great example here, starting at about six minutes in (but watch “Sunrise, Sunset” if you like; Norman Jewison’s direction and Oswald Morris’s shooting is gorgeous).

Not often do you find a ballet with humor. The Concert (or, The Perils of Everybody) is a treat.

And now things get sublime with Dances at a Gathering.

Robbins also wasn’t afraid to get weird, as this clip (you’ll have to jump) from The Cage with Wendy Whelan commentary shows.

Here are excerpts from a gorgeous Afternoon of a Faun; all I can make out from the German description is that this was danced in Dusseldorf.

There’s a ton of info on the American Masters site, but alas, only this video on YouTube. Worth tracking down the entire movie. It’s available on Netflix, but not to stream.

10/11: Eleanor, Joan, and Elmore

There’s a wealth of stuff on Eleanor Roosevelt; it really just depends how much time you want to spend on her. Find a good documentary, as the speeches tend to feel overly engineered. Roosevelt was amazing for her deeds and beautiful mind. Get some commentary and perspective.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Read more.

Joan Cusack is a sterling comic actress.

And here’s delightful Elmore Leonard. First question’s a good one: What’s his favorite movie adaptation of his work?

10/10: Ben, Thelonius, Ed, Guiseppe, and Harold

Ben Vereen was the quintessential Bob Fosse dancer. A spectacular number, even if the clip doesn’t look so hot.

Here’s Monk. Sublime.

You can watch Ed Wood’s debut and coeur du cri in its entirety at the jump. And you can watch the delightful Tim Burton movie as well.

Here’s Sparafucile’s haunting and beautiful bit from Rigoletto in honor of Verdi, one of my heroes.

So much is owed to Harold Pinter’s marvelous self-termed “comedy of menace,” The Birthday Party. Spectacular, with amazing performances from Robert Shaw, Patrick Magee, and Dandy Nichols.

10/9: Lennon, Del Toro, Polly Jean, and Saint-Seans

A nice way to celebrate John Lennon.

Guillermo del Toro can direct a few Pacific Rims before I jump off the love train I boarded when I saw this extraordinary movie. But…why did she eat the grapes? That was just dumb.

Polly Jean Harvey is so awesome!!

Out of a huge body of work, the “Aquarium” from Carnival of the Animals is one of Camille Saint-Seans most iridescent pieces. Here, gorgeously used by the great Terence Malick.