One day after the death of Lou Reed, who often expressed "dark" themes in his music, we come upon this anniversary of a time when it was considered immoral even to discuss prostitution in a play. After being banned in Great Britain, Mrs. Warren's Profession had its New York premiere on this day in 1905. Anyone who missed that performance would have to wait until 1926 for another chance to see it. The play was shut down after only one performance. The producer and actors were arrested for obscenity, and even Shaw (not yet a Nobel laureate) was named in the court case that eventually found them all not guilty. Here are scenes from Cherry Jones' (TV's 24) outstanding performance in the title role of the 2010 Broadway revival of this "scandalous" play.
Born this day in 1927, she now holds the honored title of "Dame." Nominated for Grammy awards in classical, jazz, and popular music, she is the daughter of a black Jamaican father and a white English mother. Aside from thoughts of what it must have been like to bring a biracial child into the world two years before the Great Depression, it is thrilling to witness in her performances the confluence of two rich cultural backgrounds. Her delightful interpretation of Porgy and Bess with Ray Charles is legendary, and the clip below is not bad either She's a Capella for the first minute and ten seconds, and that voice! Although it's a live performance (1977), you can hear a pin drop. Go Cleo.
As long as we've broached the subject of interracial relationships, we must acknowledge - no, celebrate - this actor's contribution to our understanding of this complicated subject. Winner of a Tony and two Emmy Awards, Jane Alexander (born today in 1939) has been nominated for an Oscar four times. Here's a clip from the film version of The Great White Hope with James Earl Jones. This is the performance that earned her a Tony for the Broadway stage production. It's a rough scene to watch - not only for what it says about race but for its emotional brutality and honesty. Viewer discretion advised.
Think of the millions - maybe billions - Jonas Salk (1914-2005) could have made from the polio vaccine, which he declined to patent. Then think of a world filled with this kind of hero. Here's the famous interview with TV's Edward R. Murrow and a summary of Salk's achievement.
This pretty woman was born today 46 years ago. No need to go on about her Oscar or the $464 million grossed by that amazing first film with Richard Gere. Let's just visit this tender scene from Notting Hill in which she's so vulnerable, it's hard to believe she's acting.