April 15, 2009
Every now and again, inspiration pushes its way through the mundane and the miserable and into our everyday consciousness. The most recent instance of this all too rare occurrence comes in the unlikely embodiment of a 47 year Scottish charity worker and self-reported virgin...Susan Boyle.
On the latest episode of Britain's Got Talent, Boyle made her way to the stage, endured the cynicism of the audience and the judges, and then proceeded to bring the house to its feet with her spectacular rendition of the acclaimed Les Miserables tune, I Dreamed A Dream.
You can see Boyle's performance in the following YouTube video. As of this moment, the video has been viewed over eight million times...jumping by well over two million views just today. Her story was featured on tonight's national news and you can expect to see her in numerous other interviews and appearances.
I suspect Susan Boyle symbolizes the ray of hope many are seeking in these times of economic uncertainty. Her story also begins the difficult task of restoring our faith that living a decent life will not go unnoticed. While Wall Street weasels wag the dog, the Susan Boyle's of the world serve to remind us that fame need not be flashy...in fact it is far more real when it is authentic. Susan Boyle, thank you for helping us put our feet back where they belong...firmly planted in the solid soil of sincerity.
Having watched this video numerous times, it sent my synapses into overdrive...connecting this event with other inspirational moments long seared in my memory banks. What they all have in common is the simplicity that comes with knowing something is right...even when the darkness seems destined to distort our ability to distinguish it from the demons that surround us.
With that in mind, I've included two videos from a little known 1991 movie, Hear My Song, featuring Ned Beatty as the renowned true life tenor Josef Locke. In the movie, a nightclub owner believes he can save his struggling business by booking Locke, an iconic figure in self-exile from the UK due to pending tax troubles. Locke, in a daring and risky return to the UK, makes his triumphant appearance before an adoring crowd eager for inspiration. Hear My Song is a story of triump reminiscent of Susan Boyle's roof-raising moment. Both are a reminder of the power of the human spirit so often found in song.
Torna a Surriento - Ned Beatty as Josef Locke in Hear My Song
Goodbye - Ned Beatty as Josef Locke in Hear My Song
The final video is from Alejandro Amenabar's 2004 movie, The Sea Inside, chronicling the true story of Ramon Sampedro's efforts to end his life many years after an accident has left him a quadriplegic. In this video, Sampedro (played brilliantly by Javier Bardem) employs the only tactic that has enabled him to endure his dilemma...he imagines himself flying out his bedroom window...across the beautiful terrain on his way to the sea...the singular source of tranquility in his troubling existence. He does so while listening to one of the quintessential tenor arias in opera, Nessun Dorma from Puccini's Turandot.
Nessun Dorma - Javier Bardem as Ramon Sampedro in The Sea Inside
Each of these stories have at their core the unyielding nature of the human spirit...a belief that beauty and bounty can be found in all that encompasses our often exasperating and existential existence. All remind us that this life is precarious at best...but also that a life well-lived and a life well-ended may be the essential elements over which we're able to exert any meaningful influence. When we do either well, all of humanity is enhanced. Susan Boyle may be our most recent protagonist to prove as much.
Tagged as: Alejandro Amenabar, Britain's Got Talent, Hear My Song, I Dreamed A Dream, Josef Locke, Les Miserables, Ned Beatty, Nessun Dorma, Puccini, Simon Cowell, Susan Boyle, The Sea Inside, Torna a Surriento, Turandot
March 26, 2007
Rent: Seasons Of Love genre: Audio-Philes & Gaylingual & Tuned Out
I happened to catch a replay of the movie Rent and it made me remember why I loved the song Seasons Of Love. It's hard to believe that it has been over ten years since the play opened. In light of the prior posting about gay culture, it seemed appropriate to post the clip. This is the music video from the movie version that came out in 2005.
October 7, 2006
Minnie Riperton: Lovin' You Video genre: Audio-Philes & Happy Remembrances & Tuned Out & Video-Philes
I first saw Minnie Riperton on the Mike Douglas show and he was amazed at her vocal range...a fact that is never missed when Riperton is discussed. Minnie Riperton never had the chance to explore where her career could have taken her though her influence was carried forward by a number of other well known talents including Mariah Carey. VH1 called Riperton a one hit wonder which may be technically correct but when compared to other one hit wonders, her career sadly ended with her death at the age of 31. If you would like to see the clip from VH1, you can find it here...it can't be embedded so I've provided this link. The following video clip is of her hit song Lovin' You.
September 30, 2006
This video is from Kelly Clarkson's guest appearance on Americal Idol in which she sings the song "Beautiful Disaster". This version of the song is different than the one on the CD...and I think it is a much better rendition of the song. I believe this is also closer to the version she sings in concert.