Wally Shawn (My Dinner with Andre) Born Today; Also, Rodin (Filmed in His Studio) & Anne Hathaway (Devil/Prada)
Put him in a line-up with a dozen hunky guys, and you'd never guess that Wally Shawn is the playwright, essayist and actor whose credits include Woody Allen's Manhattan, Toy Story, Murphy Brown, The Incredibles - and of course, Louis Malle's phenomenal two-man tour de force, My Dinner with Andre, a few mind-blowing moments of which are included in the clip below. Happy Birthday Number 70, Wally!
Born this day in 1840, this French sculptor gave us The Kiss, The Burghers of Calais, and The Thinker. It's impossible to show that moment during the creative process when, as Ingmar Bergman once said, the artist ceases to exist, becomes, as it were, invisible. But at least this scratchy old clip gives us some idea of what the physical Rodin looked like while at work in his studio.
Yes, we all know by now that Anne Hathaway, born this day 31 years ago, won a much deserved Oscar for Les Miserables. But wasn't she also amazing in Rachel Getting Married? For many of us, that was the film that told us she knew how to go deep.
Gertrude Stein's Portrait of Picasso on His Birthday; Georges Bizet, Johann Strauss II & Katy Perry Also Born This Day
Here is the opening of Gertrude Stein's cubist portrait of Pablo Picasso, "If I Told Him," to celebrate his arrival on the planet this day in 1881, followed by a lovely four-minute video meditation on his life and work.
"If I told him would he like it. Would he like it if I told him.
Would he like it would Napoleon would Napoleon would would he like it.
If Napoleon if I told him if I told him if Napoleon. Would he like it if I told him if I told him if Napoleon. Would he like it if Napoleon if
Napoleon if I told him. If I told him if Napoleon if Napoleon if I told him. If I told him would he like it would he like it if I told him. Now. Not now. And now." You can listen to Gertrude Stein read this here (courtesy University of Pennsylvania).
Born this day in 1838, Bizet still knocks your socks off with his great opera, Carmen. Give yourself three minutes and forty-one seconds with this clip of Anna Caterina Antonacci in the title role at Covent Garden, and you will see why Don Jose has been making a tragic fool of himself for generations.
Johann Strauss, II
The Waltz King, as he was called, was born today in Austria in 1899. We could dance all night to his music, and just to put us in the mood, here is Andre Rieu in a performance of "The Blue Danube."
And to think, she's only 28. We love her because she uses today's music to remind of of the imperishable: - "the part you're never, ever going to take away" and love "Unconditionally." Happy Birthday, KP
I'm an award-winning writer with a background in talk radio, newspapers and TV news. I've hosted a morning-drive classical music program on the California coast and published nationally in Reader's Digest, the Christian Science Monitor, and Playboy.
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