“Here ’tis, Mama’s Favorite 285 lbs of Jam, Jive and Everything!”ūüé∂

Fats suffer

Fats Waller 

(May 21, 1904 – December 15, 1943)

The title sums it up. “Jam, Jive and Everything!.” ¬†Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller is one of the most charming, talented and prolific artists to ever tickle the ivories of a¬†stride piano.

We share a birthday РMay 21st.  His last recording session was in Detroit, Michigan Рhome of my birth. I guess it was destiny that his music and spirit would come to bring me such joy!

What excites me about Fats?

When I was a kid and first saw the groundbreaking musical Stormy Weather (1943) I was familiar with its star Lena Horne because my father loved him some Miss Lena. But for me, the wonderful surprise of the film was Fats Waller.

Fats Waller and Lena Horne

When you see him you’re totally invested. ¬†His personality jumps off the screen. ¬†People talk about presence. ¬†Fats created “presence!”

Fats is credited with advancing the musical style – stride piano. ¬†Although known for his two most famous compositions: ¬†“Ain’t Misbehavin'” and “Honeysuckle Rose”, he penned many more uncredited hits such as “I Can’t Give You Anything but love, Baby” and “On the Sunny Side of the Street”.

Waller copyrighted over 400 songs and began his professional career as a pianist at the age of 15, working in cabarets and theaters.

His life and artistry became the Broadway musical revue “Ain’t Misbehavin‘ produced in 1978. ¬†(The show and star Nell Carter won Tony Awards.)

Aintmisbehavin

Recordings of Fats Waller were inducted into the¬†Grammy Hall of Fame¬†which is a special¬†Grammy Award¬†established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least 25 years old and that have “qualitative or historical significance”.

 

Here ’tis, a tribute to Fats’ brilliance¬†and charm:

 

Fats Waller – Ain’t Misbehavin’ – Stormy Weather (1943)

 

This song cracks me up!

Fats Waller – Your Feet’s Too Big! (1936)

 

Fats Waller – Honeysuckle Rose (1929)

 

Thanks, Fats for the jam, jive, and everything!

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Legendary Director of “The Birdcage” Dies

¬†¬†Mike Nichols, Acclaimed Director of ‚ÄėThe Graduate,‚Äô Dies at 83

mike nichols-master675

(November 6, 1931¬†‚Äď November 19, 2014)

New York (AP) Mike Nichols, one of America‚Äôs most celebrated directors, died on Wednesday from cardiac arrest. He was married to ABC’s news anchor Diane Sawyer. The family will hold a private service this week; a memorial will be held at a later date.

Dryly urbane, Mr. Nichols had a gift for communicating with actors and a keen comic timing, which he honed early in his career as half of the popular sketch comedy team Nichols and May. In films like ‚ÄúThe Graduate,‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúWho‚Äôs Afraid of Virginia Woolf?‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúCarnal Knowledge‚ÄĚ and in comedies and dramas on stage, he accomplished what Orson Welles and Elia Kazan but few if any other directors have: achieving popular and artistic success in both film and theater. He was among the most decorated people in the history of show business, one of only a dozen or so to have won an Oscar, a Tony, an Emmy and a Grammy.

For more of his legacy click here:

READ MORE ¬Ľ

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/21/obituaries/mike-nichols-celebrated-director-dies-at-83.html?emc=edit_na_20141120

 

R.I.P.

 

My absolute favorite of his films!

 

The Birdcage (1996)

 

What’s not to love about this film? Starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane the pairing is perfect and the performances are brilliant!

Here’s the plot:

Meet Armand,¬†Albert and their son Val who’s engaged to Barbara Keeley and the rip-roaring evening when their families meet.

Val’s father, Armand, owns The Birdcage, a drag club in South Beach. His domestic partner is Albert, who appears regularly as “Starina”, the show’s star drag queen. Barbara’s father is ultraconservative Republican Senator Kevin Keeley of Stow, Ohio. He is up for reelection and is also co-founder of the “Coalition for Moral Order”.

Fearing the Keeleys reaction if they learn the truth about Val’s parents, Barbara tells her parents that Armand is a cultural attach√© to Greece, that Albert is a housewife, and that they divide their time between Greece and Florida; she also changes the family’s last name from Goldman to Coleman to hide their Jewish background.

What could go wrong?

Based on the 1973 stage play by¬†Jean Poiret¬†and the 1978 French-Italian film la Cage aux Folles co-written and directed by √Čdouard Molinaro; it starred¬†Ugo Tognazzi and Michel Serrault. In Italian, it is known as Il vizietto. An excellent flick definitely worth checking out.

 

Love the scene with Renaldo teaching Albin to act “straight.” ¬†La Cage vs. Birdcage. What do you think?

(Sorry, no subtitles for the trailer but they are available on the DVD)

 

The Birdcage pays homage but definitely brings its own attitude and flair.

 

the Birdcage_imp

 

 

And Hank Azaria as Agador Spartacus is too hilarious!!!!

 

Directed by

Mike Nichols

Produced by

Mike Nichols

Neil A. Machlis

Screenplay by

Elaine May

Based on

La Cage aux Folles

by Jean Poiret

Francis Veber

Starring

Robin Williams

Gene Hackman

Nathan Lane

Dianne Wiest

Music by

Stephen Sondheim

Cinematography

Emmanuel Lubezki

Edited by

Arthur Schmidt

Production

company

Nichols Film Company

Distributed by

United Artists

Release dates

  • March¬†8,¬†1996

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Here ’tis, little Fats Waller. Mama’s favorite 285 lbs of jam, jive and everything!”

Fats suffer

  May 21, 1904 РDecember 15, 1943

Title sums it up. “Jam, Jive and Everything!.” ¬†Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller is one of the most charming, talented and prolific artists to ever tickle the ivories of a¬†stride piano.

We share a birthday РMay 21st.  His last recording session was in Detroit, Michigan Рhome of my birth. I guess it was destiny that his music and spirit would come to bring me such joy!

What excites me about Fats?

When I was a kid and first saw the ground breaking musical Stormy Weather (1943) I was familiar with its star Lena Horne because my father loved him some Miss Lena.  But for me, the wonderful surprise of the film was Fats Waller.

Fats Waller and Lena Horne

When you see him you’re totally invested. ¬†His personality jumps off the screen. ¬†People talk about presence. ¬†Fats created “presence!”

Fats is credited with advancing the musical style – stride piano. ¬†Although known for his two most famous compositions: ¬†“Ain’t Misbehavin'” and “Honeysuckle Rose”, he penned many more uncredited hits such as “I Can’t Give you Anything but love, Baby” and “On the Sunny Side of the Street”.

Waller copyrighted over 400 songs and began his professional career as a pianist at the age of 15, working in cabarets and theaters.

His life and artistry became the Broadway musical revue “Ain’t Misbehavin‘ produced in 1978. ¬†(The show and star Nell Carter won Tony Awards.)

Aintmisbehavin

Recordings of Fats Waller were inducted into the¬†Grammy Hall of Fame¬†which is a special¬†Grammy Award¬†established in 1973 to honour recordings that are at least 25 years old and that have “qualitative or historical significance”.

 

Here ’tis, a tribute to Fats’ brilliance¬†and charm:

 

Fats Waller – Ain’t Misbehavin’ – Stormy Weather (1943)

 

This song cracks me up!

Fats Waller – Your Feet’s Too Big! (1936)

 

Fats Waller – Honeysuckle Rose (1929)

 

Thanks Fats for the jam, jive and everything!