Sunday, February 28, 2016

Mysterious Thelonious

Hi everyone,

Jason Moran
Last March, the Kennedy Center celebrated Thelonious Monk with two events, a listening party and an homage to Monk's landmark Town Hall Concert in New York in 1959. Here's how super cool they were.

Thelonious Monk Listening Party 
(March 21, 2015)

When Jason Moran took over the post of Artistic Director of Jazz at the Kennedy Center, I had no idea who he was. I don't know if these listening parties at the Kennedy Center started with him, but they're genius!

Thelonious Monk always wore great hats. 
© Michael Ochs/Getty
Thelonious Monk attracted me to this event, which had no description. It turned out to be just as it sounds: a listening party, during which we listened to pieces of music and talked about them afterward, "like you used you to with your friends when you brought home a new record," Jason Moran explained. I didn't get together with my friends to discuss my favorite albums when I was younger, but I knew what he meant: whenever I bought a new one, I listened and studied it as soon as I got home. This idea was right up my alley, and who's better talk about than Thelonious! At this event, about 30 of us sat in a circle with panelists Jason Moran, bassist Taurus Mateen, and French horn player Robert "Brother Ah"  Northern, who actually performed with Thelonious Monk. We focused on the large speakers set up in the center of the room.

The panelists picked the songs for the program and explained why they were special to them. This was more of a talk amongst themselves than a group discussion, and I loved learning first-hand accounts of Thelonious Monk. Robert Northern told us that the musician was inspired to write "Evidence" after watching a community basketball game and thinking about his therapist, who Monk said had "no evidence" that he's manic. Aside from "Evidence," we listened to "Little Rootie Tootie," "Crepuscule with Nellie," "Thelonious," and "Nutty." I'd never heard "Nutty" before, and time ran out before they could talk about it. Who knew that this mysterious $12 educational event would leave me wanting more? It was an hour well spent and one of the many reasons why the Kennedy Center is one of the best places in town.

Jason Moran's In My Mind: Monk at Town Hall, 1959
(March 28, 2015)

The Thelonious Monk listening party served as prep for this main event, a multimedia re-imagining of Thelonious Monk's Town Hall concert in New York in 1959. Here's Jason Moran talking about it:

Jason Moran previews In My Mind: Monk at Town Hall, 1959© The Kennedy Center 

Thelonious Monk thinks and plays the piano like no one else can. The concept of this show – to capture that spirit in a new piece of work – seems like an impossible task to me, so I was excited to see the attempt.

To start the show, Jason Moran walked on stage, sat at the piano, and put on giant headphones. Thelonious Monk began to play on the speakers, and soon Jason Moran began to play along in his own way. As they played together, on a large screen above him, we toured Jason Moran's childhood home as he talked about his upbringing and introduction to Thelonious Monk's music when he was 13 years old. The narrative on screen also introduced Jason Moran's band – The Big Bandwagon – Ralph Alessi on trumpet, Walter Smith on tenor saxophone, Frank Lacy on trombone, Bob Stewart on tuba, Taurus Mateen on bass, and Nasheet Waits on drums. One by one, they joined in on playing introductory song with Jason Moran.

This tribute to Thelonious Monk's 1959 Town Hall concert was a mix of music and biography. Following the same set list as the original concert, the program paused at times for Jason Moran's stories about Thelonious Monk's influence on his own life or to play archival video and audio recordings of Thelonious Monk himself – giving multilayered insight into the man and his music.

The first song, "Thelonious," was followed by "Friday, the 13th" and "Monk's Mood." Then, after the screen informed us of Monk's family ancestry and roots in slavery, the band revisited "Thelonious." They then broke into a New Orleans-style funeral song as each band member headed backstage, one by one. We could hear them playing in the distance; as their sound faded, Thelonious Monk took our attention through a 1959 audio recording, during which he talked about music and the songs he was rehearsing for the Town Hall concert.

Sometimes, Thelonious Monk liked 
to dance mid performance. 
After he finished, the band returned for the second half of the show. They played "Little Rootie Tootie," "Thelonious" (again), and "Crepuscule with Nellie." They made each of these songs their own, playing off of the original. It felt like they were inside Thelonious Monk's chaotic mind coming up with these tunes. Each musician had moments to shine, playing their own melodies, but eventually they all came together to play the song we recognized.

By the end of the show, all the musicians wore headphones again, listening to and jamming with Thelonious Monk. One by one, they took off their sets and left the stage. This time, they walked through the aisles of the orchestra level and out the concert hall doors. Jason Moran was the last to leave, jumping off the stage to join his bandmates in the Kennedy Center's main hall. Out there, we crowded the main-level entrance and stairways, watching them finish the song and cheering as they did. I wonder if anyone attending other performances at the Kennedy Center that night knew what they were missing. Thelonious Monk was in the house!

Watch this episode of Jazz in America, hosted by bassist Christian McBride, for more from Jason Moran about Thelonious Monk's life and influence and to see segments from this amazing show.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

2015 in Review: That's Dancing!

Savion Glover's STePz, Strathmore, Bethesda, Maryland (February 6, 2015)
On the STePz... © Andrea Mohin/New York Times
Savion Glover always brings something new. Unlike any other dancer, this guy makes me sit at attention and, by the end of each performance, my mouth is usually gaping and my eyes are dry from not blinking.

STePz seemed more formal than the other free-flowing Savion Glover shows I've seen. This one celebrated the history of music and dance. It paid tribute to several dance styles other than tap, as everything from classical and Latin to pop blasts through the speakers. Savion performed a moving solo honoring tap pioneer Bill Robinson during "Mr. Bojangles," where he and his shadow evoke the past with Robinson's familiar moves. On the fly after the intermission, he and the three lovely lady tappers accompanying him during the show – Robin Watson, Sarah Savelli, and Lisa LaTouche – decided to sing an acapella verse and chorus of Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel."

The show included a few short sets of stairs (the STePz?) on which Savion and the other dancers tapped – sometimes choreographed, sometimes improvised. In one memorable moment, Savion and fellow hoofer Marshall Davis, Jr., battled it out on the steps, mimicking and adding to each other's improvisational beats. In another, the three ladies took advantage of the stairs for some choreographed tapping that saluted other dance styles, like ballet, tango, and jazz. The show ended with the whole troupe dancing to Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke." They froze at the end in classic superhero poses with one arm punched skyward. On cue, we erupted in cheers – until we had to leave and deal with our delirium at home.

Savion Glover never disappoints me. Here's a taste of the show:

Savion Glover's STePz video © Savion Glover

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C. (February 7, 2015)
From "Revelations" © Gert Krautbauer
Seeing the Alvin Ailey dance troupe is always a good idea. Having said that, my heart was still beating to Savion Glover's taps from the night before when I attended this afternoon matinee, so my memory of it is vague. However, I liked this performance very much.

Whenever the Alvin Ailey company comes to the Kennedy Center, it's booked there for a few days and offers different dances at different performances. This show's dances were created over the course of more than 50 years. "Polish Pieces" first appeared in 1996, "Bad Blood" premiered in 1986, and "Caught" is from 2004. The showstopper at the end of every show this time around was "Revelations," a dance created in 1960 and set to traditional, spiritual music.

What I always remember about Alvin Ailey dance shows is the bodies – how the dancers hold their alignment with precision and move in inventive ways. The music informs the movements, and the costumes accentuate the emotion. "Revelations," for example, sweeps you up as the dancers in full colorful skirts twirl across the stage in unison. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre gives you a full experience that touches all the senses through movement and leaves you with something new to talk about afterward. This afternoon's inspiring performance had us singing along, cheering, and clapping for encores.

It's a coincidence that I saw a story about the Alvin Ailey dance troupe on PBS Newshour last night. Correspondent Jeffrey Brown talked to Artistic Director Robert Battle about his aim to take the company in a new direction while honoring its storied past. Check it out:

Twyla Tharp 50th Anniversary Tour, Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C. (November 13, 2015) 
From "Yowzie" © Kevin Parry
Although I've always known her name, I'd never seen Twyla Tharp's dances until this 50th anniversary performance. "Long ago, I made the choice to mark this point in my career not with events celebrating the past, but with new dances showing what I had learned and some of what I had experienced during this working life," Tharp explains about the show. A short fanfare piece introduced each half of the the program, and while the two halves couldn't have been more different in style or music, they somehow made sense together.

The first half explored Bach's preludes and fugues through balletic moves. During these short piano pieces, the dancers, who were dressed in plain but bright one-color costumes, personified the notes being played. Each entertaining piece was different in the number of dancers and their stories. All were infused with surprising funny moments told through dance. The second half showcased "Yowzie," a performance set to a series of 1920s jazz tunes, many of which I didn't recognize, though I knew the composers, like Jelly Roll Morton and Fats Waller. For these dances, the performers were dressed in bright, patterned costumes and accessorized with headbands or hats. They never stopped moving and sometimes looked like jelly bouncing into and off each other in joyful, controlled chaos.

The innovation Twyla Tharp's choreography is a thrill to watch. I love most that the humor and joy she finds through her work is evident and contagious with every step. Here's a snippet of the show:

Twyla Tharp 50th Anniversary Tour video © Twyla Tharp

Dancing is good for the soul, even if you're just watching. So, go treat yourself to a performance and you might find yourself dancing your way home. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

2015 in Review: See You at the Theatre!

Hi everyone,

I saw some wonderful shows last year, which I meant to recap in December, but life got in the way. Better late than never and before spring hits, indulge me as I revisit 2015 in theatre, dance, and music in my next few blog posts.

2015 started off with a quick trip to New York to see Sting's The Last Ship on January 10th. (I wrote about The Last Ship in last year's theatre round-up.) The Last Ship didn't last long on Broadway, and while Sting was nominated for a Tony for his amazing score, he didn't win it, and I'm still baffled by it all. The Last Ship was my favorite show of 2014, and I felt lucky to have seen it twice, even if the second time was in the middle of a New York winter. Here's a rundown of the other shows I saw in 2015.

Choir Boy, Studio Theatre, Washington, D.C. (February 28, 2015)
I bought a ticket to this play solely based on its writer, Tarell Alvin McCraney. I had seen his trilogy The Brother/Sister Plays: The Brothers Size, In the Red and Brown Water, and Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet, years before, and they made a lasting impression on me. Now, I can add this one to that list. Choir Boy depicts life in all-Black boys boarding school as seem through some of its choir members. At a year-end ceremony, Pharus (Jelani Alladin) is prepared to be named the lead for the school's popular gospel choir. When publicly humiliated at the event, his lifestyle and confidence are shaken, and the incident ripples through the school, affecting everyone from his friends to the headmaster. Tarell Alvin McCraney's plays are always refreshing and surprising. I love his modern take on age-old issues and how music is always an integral part of the tapestry – making his stories relatable and educational for everyone.

Blithe Spirit, National Theatre, Washington, D.C. (March 29, 2015)
I always see Noel Coward's classic comedy Blithe Spirit, which first premiered in 1941, advertised in the paper. It's always being performed somewhere nearby, no matter how small the company. I wanted to see this version because of Angela Lansbury, who was touring with it nationally on a very limited run. Blithe Spirit is about London socialites, writer Charles Condomine (Charles Edwards) and his second wife Ruth (Charlotte Parry), who hire a medium Mrs. Arcati (Angela Lansbury) to conduct a seance in their home – an experience meant to be research for Charles's next book. Mrs. Arcati's event evokes the ghost of Charles's first wife Elvira (Melissa Woodbridge), who decides to haunt Ruth, the only one of the party who cannot see her. While this story seemed a bit dated to me, it was fun and suitable for the whole family. Some slapstick moments and Mrs. Arcati's eccentricities livened up the story, and I loved whenever the set, possessed by Elvira, took on a life of its own. Everyone in the cast was great, including Angela Lansbury, who was wonderful to watch. You may have missed her in Blithe Spirit this time, but later in the year, I saw her on PBS offering another amazing stage performance alongside James Earle Jones in Driving Miss Daisy. There no excuse to miss that thrilling experience, so get a snack, click here to watch, and enjoy....

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York, New York (April 5, 2015)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is based on a novel by Mark Haddon, which I read and loved, even though I didn't remember much from it. (This is the reason why I started writing book reviews.) I wanted to see this play because I couldn't imagine how they would present this story on stage: It's told through the eyes of an autistic boy (Tim Wright) who discovers his neighbor's dead dog and sets off to solve the mystery of what happened. The audience is introduced to the people in his life as he sees them – his parents, his teachers, his neighbor – and how he handles the world to get through his days. This show was spectacular in its creativity and inventiveness. I attended this with two friends, and none of us really knew what to expect. We left the theatre dazzled by the set, impressed by the flow of the story, and eager to read the book. In fact, after I read this book again, I may need to see this play again, which won the 2015 Tony for Best Play. They got that one right. Be sure to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time when it begins touring the United States in October.

The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, Theater J, Washington, D.C. (June 11, 2015)
When I was invited to see this play, I didn't know anything about it, but I recognized the title. It was a night of surprises, since my friend and I saw it in Theater J, a local theatre that I didn't know existed. The Tale of the Allergist's Wife is a witty play that offers a look at the upper class in the New York's Upper West Side. Marjorie Taub (Susan Rome), a well-off doctor's wife, spends her days attending cultural events in an effort to become a better, more interesting person, but struggles with the idea that she may never become that. After a recent public outburst, Marjorie retreats to her apartment to deal with her midlife crisis, which is interrupted by the reappearance of her childhood friend Lee (Lise Bruneau). Lee, a seemingly sophisticated world traveler, lifts Marjorie's spirits but disrupts her life. The Tale of the Allergist's Wife premiered in 2000, and for this production, playwright Charles Busch updated references in the story to keep it modern. The result was a clever, funny whirlwind of a show about colorful characters vividly portrayed by a great cast.

Once, Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C., (August 6, 2015)
I remember seeing and liking Once, the 2007 film on which this musical is based. I even had the film's soundtrack on CD. Yet, when I saw commercials on TV for Once at the Kennedy Center, I didn't feel excited about it. The story involves an Irish vacuum cleaner repair man (Stuart Ward) who spends his spare time writing and singing songs on his guitar. After a chance meeting, he is encouraged by a young Czech woman named Ivanka (Dani de Waal) to pursue his music. As his confidence grows, so does their unique love for each other, until they must face a turning point in his budding music career. Once is an intimate, touching story. Since it lacks much excitement, I was surprised that it won eight Tony awards for its Broadway production a few years back. (At the Kennedy Center, my friend and I thought it might be better experienced in a smaller venue or viewed from closer seats than the balcony.) I'm sure that the moving, crowd-pleasing music written by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova had something to do with it. Even as we made it to our seats, audience members were joining the cast on stage, where they had begun playing Irish tunes in the bar setting. Once is a lovely production that is faithful to the film and leaves you inspired and humming its songs all the way home. Here's information about Once, the musical, on tour.

Oliver, Arena Stage, Washington, D.C., November 8, 2015
Although I'd seen the 1968 musical film adaptation of Oliver several times growing up, I've never read Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist nor seen the classic on stage. Arena Stage's version follows orphan Oliver's life on London's streets and dreams for a family, though I felt that they rushed through some of the emotional moments and made some odd updates to the story. I assumed this version took place in present day; though the cast seemed dressed with Dickensian flair, they also used cell phones. A part of me wished they had stuck to the original 1800s time period and kept it true to the story, but Arena Stage is a forward-thinking kind of place. I loved the set, which included crisscrossed metal bridges that the cast ran and sang on above the stage. I was also impressed with the young boys in the orphanage who sang "Food, Glorious Food" while tossing dinner plates around without dropping any. The reason to see Oliver is the music, written by Lionel Bart. I didn't realize how many of these songs are etched in my memory until they started singing them. I think they're there for good.

Bright Star, Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C., December 10, 2015
Bright Stara new musical by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, premiered in D.C. before heading to Broadway. Set in the South, the story introduces Alice Murphy (Carmen Cusack), a straight-laced, successful literary editor. When an eager new writer (A.J. Shively) returns home from serving in World War II, he enters Alice's office and awakens in her haunting memories. Longing for a child she lost 20 years earlier, she embarks on a journey to face her past and a life that might have been. This inspiring show has everything you could want in theatre: an inspirational story with universal themes of love, loss, and family with a healthy mix of drama, humor, and great music. I loved the story's strong characters and unexpected turns. The set included a mobile cabin, which doubled as a prop and platform for the musical's bluegrass band. A toy train ran along tracks above the stage, representing trips out of town and taking part in one of the show's most dramatic moments. Among the great cast, Carmen Cusack in the starring role stood out for me with her unique, powerful voice showcasing Edie Brickell's wonderful lyrics and melodies. Catch Bright Star when it hits Broadway this week; previews start February 25th.

With 2016 well underway, you can still catch some of these inspiring shows. Keep an eye out for them and treat yourself to a trip to the theatre.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


While waiting for the Celtics schedule to resume after the NBA All-Star break this week, Tyrone is practicing one of Marcus Smart's favorite shots.

Smart (February 16, 2016)
(Illustration Friday: January 29, 2016)

Monday, February 08, 2016

Golden Years with David Bowie

The Next Day
Look up here, I'm in heaven. I've got scars that can't be seen. I've got drama, can't be stolen. Everybody knows me now. "Lazarus"

That Monday morning, my radio alarm clock woke me with news about David Bowie that I never expected to hear. My grogginess snapped into shock and disbelief until creating a void in my chest that I assume is permanent. I think Sleater Kinney guitarist and Portlandia star Carrie Brownstein summed it up best for me when she wrote, "It feels like we lost something elemental, as if an entire color is gone."

To me, David Bowie is ageless, contemporary, and set apart from all of my other favorite musicians. He was visionary, always thinking differently and ahead of his time to create his own path no matter what anyone else was doing. He introduced new albums full of veiled
references and unique sounds, often with a new persona to match. As comedian Fred Armisen said, "David Bowie transformed the space he was in," and we were thrilled to share it. (Check out these amazing performances of "The Man Who Sold the World," "TVC-15," and "Boys Keep Swinging" from Saturday Night Live in 1979! Had I seen them then, I think I would have become a fan a few years sooner.)

I didn't follow everything David Bowie did all the time, but I preferred it that way. I pictured him always busy doing interesting things that haven't occurred yet to anyone else. Thinking of him lately, I keep comparing him to Picasso: Bowie was a prolific, larger-than-life kind of artist. He did whatever he wanted in music, movies, fashion, art, and anything else that sparked his interest. He never disappointed us and influenced whatever areas he touched. Since I was 10 years old, David Bowie has shown up over the years like a breath of fresh air, and I fall in love every time.

Hello, Bowie!  
But we're absolute beginners with eyes completely open. "Absolute Beginners"

In the '80s, MTV introduced me to David Bowie through his videos, which got regular airplay on the channel, including "Let's Dance," "China Girl," "Modern Love," "Absolute Beginners," and – of course – the goofy cover of "Dancing in the Street" with Mick Jagger (which still makes me smile). My favorite video of that era is "Blue Jean" because it feels like cool movie, filmed in some exotic location (where they snap fingers instead of clapping), and you get two Bowies in one. Also, as my sister pointed out, David Bowie looks cute with a Band Aid on his nose.

"Blue Jean© David Bowie (1984) 

At the same time, his older classics got my attention on the radio, and I started my Bowie CD collection with a greatest hits compilation. With songs like "Changes," "Ziggy Stardust," "Heroes," "Suffragette City," "Rebel Rebel," "Young Americans," and "Ashes to Ashes," I'd be in a better mood, singing and dancing along within minutes. When I saw his older performances, I marveled at his changing looks: That unrecognizable alien rock star with electric orange hair and full make-up was a world away from the dapper, suave Bowie I knew. Still, I somehow connected to these great songs, like "Life on Mars?"

"Life on Mars?© David Bowie (1971)

Every time I heard or saw David Bowie somewhere, I gasped with excitement and was left hungry for more.

Bowie in the '90s
Nothing prepared me for your smile, lighting the darkness of my soul. "Thursday's Child"

At the start of the new decade, I saw a clip of a Sound & Vision Tour press conference on MTV news, during which David Bowie performed the first verse of "Space Oddity" on acoustic guitar for a crowd of reporters. When he stopped and said, "Now, you're going to have to use your imaginations–," everyone interrupted with their own version of the missing blast off sound. "You brought it!" he exclaimed. "Great!" And, he launched into the next verse. It hit me then that I had to see this guy in person.  

I saw Bowie in Cleveland with my sister during that tour in 1990. While he played "Space Oddity" on his guitar, a giant image of David Bowie walked onto the massive screen behind him, knelt down on one knee to peer at the tiny singing musician, and at times sang along with him. I thought it was the coolest thing ever.

"Space Oddity" (Sound & Vision Tour, Tokyo, Japan, 1990)

Bowie offered all sorts of other random surprises during the '90s.
  • He rebooted his 1975 hit "Fame" with a 1990 version that had a fantastic video to go with it. 
  • In 1992, he married supermodel Iman, forming – in my eyes – the coolest of the cool power couples. 
  • In 1996, he offered fans BowieNet, his own Internet service that came with exclusive Bowie content for fans. I never ordered it, but swooned at the idea of having an e-mail address with that name attached. That year, he also showed up as Andy Warhol in Julian Schnabel's film Basquiat.
  • A year later, he sold his rights to future royalties from anything he'd written before 1990. I considered this a sound investment, but I never bought any because I don't know anything about finances. 
  • Also in 1997, he collaborated with Trent Reznor and released Earthling. The video for the first single, "I'm Afraid of Americans," plays like a nightmare. I didn't buy that album at the time, but I liked the songs I heard, and that cover image is one of my favorites. (Although partly inspired by the movie Taxi Driver, it's interesting how relevant that video seems now.) 
  • In 1999, he revealed a new, softer look and perform a completely different kind of song, called "Thursday's Child," on a talk show. (Listen to those backing vocals!) I loved it so much that I bought his new CD, Hours, immediately.
"Thursday's Child" (Madrid, 1999)

Bowie in the New Century
I've got a better way. Ready. Set. Go. "New Killer Star"

In 2002, I saw David Bowie on an A&E special, David Bowie: Live By Request, and I lost my mind. I mean, I bought some more older albums as well as his most recent one, Heathen, and soaked it all up. He played in each of New York City's five boroughs in support of Heathen, and everyone who reported that news added things like, "Who does that?," "Has anyone ever done that?," and "Why has no one ever thought to do this before?" (My only question: Why didn't I attend any of them?) A year later, he released another great album called Reality, to which I was hooked as soon as I heard its first single "New Killer Star." (Those guitars rock!)

"New Killer Star" David Bowie (London, 2003)

Then, the Bowie music stopped coming, but I didn't really notice its absence since the artist was occupied. He made a surprise appearance during the Fashion Rocks! TV special in 2005, singing along to a fantastic song called "Wake Up" by a band I'd never heard of – Arcade Fire. With that kind of endorsement and performance, I ordered Arcade Fire's debut album after the show (and noticed the band everywhere after that night). Among other things, David Bowie made a cameo in Ben Stiller's comedy, Zoolander; costarred in Christopher Nolan's drama, The Prestige, as Nikola Tesla; and – my all-time favorite – appeared as David Bowie on Ricky Gervasis's show, Extras.

Extras (BBC, 2005) 

The other day, a snippet of conversation that I had with my friend in 2012 popped into my head. We must have been talking about music when I said, "I wonder what David Bowie is doing." She responded matter-of-factly, "He doesn't have to do anything." It was true, but a few months later, on his birthday, David Bowie reemerged with a surprise album, recorded entirely in secret, called The Next Day. Do you think he heard me?

And, just before Thanksgiving last year, I found out that David Bowie had written a musical – a sort of sequel for his alien character in the 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth. It was playing a limited, sold-out run off Broadway, but I couldn't justify buying a scalped ticket for $3000, even if I could get my hands on one.

Do it Bowie style! 
This way or no way. You know, I'll be free, just like that bluebird. Ain't that just like me? "Lazarus"

Last month, the outpouring of love and admiration for David Bowie online among friends and strangers was immense, genuine, sincere, and comforting. We lost our most unique, irreplaceable friend. Just two days before, we were celebrating his birthday and the release of his spectacular album Blackstar. Leave it to Bowie to give us a gift on his birthday as solace for what he knew was coming.

After listening to all these new, exciting tunes; coincidentally, I got to a funny anecdote about David Bowie in the book I'm reading now, Elvis Costello's memoir Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink. I had to laugh when I read, "Eventually, David leaned in to me conspiratorially and said, in his best David Bowie voice,..." Every David Bowie fan knows exactly how that looks and sounds. There's only one David Bowie, and no one else will come close.

While we mourned the loss of an artist who had so much more to say and left us too soon, my friend reminded me, "We're lucky to have been around to appreciate him in real time." David Bowie will always be out there with plenty for us to hear, read, watch, learn, and love. Keep exploring. His world is vast and keeps on giving.

The Kitties can rock it! 
We could be heroes....forever and ever. "Heroes"

Sometimes, thank you doesn't seem like enough, but The Kitties are up to the task. Here they are playing dress up, Bowie style!

Bowie Kitties (January 28, 2016)

Mostly taking inspiration for Bowie's varied album covers, from left to right: Tyrone celebrates the Ziggy Stardust/Aladdin Sane era, Comet models Heroes, Norman shows off Diamond Dogs, B.J. knocks out Let's Dance, The Mother Kitty is Aladdin Sane, Simon goes method for The Man Who Sold the World,  Lily tackles Reality, Gordon gets to wear the coat for Earthling, Ashes is Hunky Dory, and Mini is Low.

And, here, The Kitties get down to "Starman!"

There's a Starman, waiting in the sky. He'd like to come and meet us, but he thinks he'd blow our minds. There's a Starman, waiting in the sky. He told us not to blow it 'cause it's all worthwhile... 

Starman (February 1, 2016)

He told me, let the children lose it. Let the children use it. Let all the children boogie...

"Starman" (A&E's Live By Request, 2002)

Play his tunes and play them loud, friends!