Docmentary film maker. Actress. Singer. Talk show host. Advocate. Tracy Turnblad. Finalist, Dancing With the Stars. Poker shark.
My favorite famous age doppelganger.
Happy 46th birthday to Ricki Lake.
We’re in good company, ya know. Mother (of Invention) Don Preston is 82 today. Actor Bill Murray is 64. World famous chef and TV personality Anne Burrell is 45. Author Steven King is 67, and, speaking of authors, H.G. Wells would have been 148 years old today had he lived so long.
But Ricki Lake and I started this thing on the exact same day.
I think that’s pretty funny.
While many other people will be pretending that they’re Irish today for some reason that’s never been clear to me and chugging green beer, a phenomena that also eludes my comprehension, I will be working and then scurrying home hoping to avoid the puking amateurs and hoping that the parade from yesterday will have acted as enough of a pressure valve for said amateurs.
But I will also be thinking of Elis.
Elis Regina, born March 17, 1945, died January 19, 1982 at the age of 36 of the cursed curse of many too-young popular musical artists: The drug overdose. You may not know Elis Regina. But you probably know Elvis and of how adored he was in the United States. Well. It was estimated that 80,000 came to see Elvis upon his death.
Similarly, it was estimated that 100,000 came to see Elis.
I discovered her while researching a song I love, “Waters of March,” as sung by Jane Monheit. I found this.
Yes. This corny lip-sync performance during which a cigarette magically appears in the woman’s right hand, with those awful-looking headphones and which can’t help but remind me of an Electric Company sketch—wait, maybe that’s why it appealed to me—this is what introduced me to Elis Regina. I had to know who that woman was.
Which led me to the Música Popular Brasileira special of 1973.
You want to experience a bit of effortless perfection today? Here.
Ladeira da Preguiça
Vou Deitar e Rolar (Qua Qua Ra Qua Qua)
Or, if you’d like to see the completo programa (1:34):
I purchased her “Come e Porque” for download on eMusic. I like to place it with one of those soaring recording collections that stays put, like Stevie Wonder’s “Innervisions” or Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.” It’s that good.
Canto De Ossanha
(a song for which I’ve found an interesting translation and story…here…)
Anyway. So. Today marks the St. Patty’s day. Have a beer. But have one for Elis, too. K?
Many a fan steals a favorite image of him for blog-posty uses, Johnny Cash flipping the bird with a twisted up face. Like a lot of his fans, I adore that image. Defiant. Outlaw. Pissed off.
There’s a heck of a story about that image, and it’s told well here. You should go read it and come back.
I thought I’d steal a different image of him though today. Here’s Johnny holding a kitteh.
Had J.R. Cash lived to today, he’d have been 81.
A friend who could play just about any Cash song you could name (on the guitar, not the radio) made me appreciate the music. Before that, I was rather close-minded about it. I’m so glad for that. Because friend, if you’ve never sat down and listened to the entire Folsom album, you’re denying yourself one of life’s better pleasures.
If you haven’t, well, here it is.
Added bonus: Johnny and June lighting up a stage.
In related news, related in that Shel Silverstein also penned a little ditty called “A Boy Named Sue:”
Mom’s birthday card this year plays my birthday song when you open it.
I don’t know about you, but birthdays make my psyche walk around the house without any underpants on.