18 October 2009
Down In The Depths
This week's Take This Tune is Cole Porter's Down In The Depths. I hope you will join in on the meme.
Before we get into the whole of this effort, if you have not seen "De-Lovely", run don't walk to Amazon to buy or your nearest film rental and watch it. The critics should just take a cold shower or something. The music saves everything.
Confession. I have always wanted to be one of those tall, slender women who were born to be clothes hangers for long, white silk dresses cut on the bias. Unfortunately, my hour glass, earth mother figure was more acclimated to hoop skirts and decolletage. The only way to mesh the desire with the reality was to stay away from mirrors and become a regular at a piano bar -- Not for the alcohol, but for the music.
Somewhere in another life there were witty conversations, brilliant repartee and Cole Porter. Cole is essential simply because no one else wrote greater music for the cocktail set while possessing so much heart. In the midst of being witty and charming there are these kernels of truth that you can't quite ignore no matter how much the kernels make you twitch.
On my bookshelf are the complete works of the Gershwin Brothers, Rodgers with both Hart and Hammerstein, and Cole Porter who never understood why it took two men to write one song. I love them all, but there is a real soft spot for Cole. About thirty years ago I saw a show in Westwood: Red, Hot, and Cole. The premise is simple. It is one of those terribly chi chi cocktail parties where everyone who drops in is famous, and they all sing signature Cole Porter songs. The production I saw was wonderful. Over the years it has gotten less than stellar reviews on off Broadway, and has descended to the level of being a Dinner Theater stalwart. If you get a chance and your local singers have decent voices go see it. The ambiance of dining while Porter song after Porter song is performed is a time travel ticket to another era and place where people actually dressed for dinner and the gentleman owned their own dinner jackets rather than getting them from Rent A Tux.
Now if you go to the Cole Porter Web, you can find a list of every song he ever wrote. Good luck trying to pick out just one favorite. If pressed, I always come back to Begin the Beguine (1935) and then dump it for "It Was Just One of Those Things" (1935). You may note that both are about loves that didn't quite go as originally planned. Been there, done that, bought the T-Shirt and tossed a few tears of je suis au regret in my champagne.
With all the contemplation of Cole, I was pleased to find out that his boyhood home has been restored and you can actually trek to Peru, Indiana to sleep in a room that knew him when at the Cole Porter Inn
Just to end on a slightly happier note ... well it is still about being dumped, but definitely taking it well with more than a little Porter joi de vivre.
Well Did You Ever (1939 and then 1956 movie):