Princesse Tam Tam


Last night my parents and I went to the Egyption Theater to view a multi-media retrospective celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Josephine Baker.  Frankly, it was a bit of a oddity.  The music was live, a chamber orchestra trying to take on Le Jazz Hot.  It needed to be loud and brassy – I know about loud and brassy - but came off a little confused.  The orchestra was accompanied by a singer who fancied herself a bit of a Persian chanteuse.  I just wanted to push her down.  When she sang 'Don't Touch My Tomatoes', by Christ I most certainly did not want to. 

The highlight of the evening, not surprisingly, was Josephine herself – in photographs, in movie exerpts, in a comedy short and, of course, dancing.  She danced with a type of happy madness, uninhibited and full of joy.  When she danced the Charleston, it wasn't graceful, but it was beautiful.

There was a musical number where she was in a cage, swinging back and forth on her perch and wearing just enough feathers to stuff a throw pillow.  She had a high, clear voice and was singing in French about Haiti.

There was an onscreen display of the programs for her shows – fabulous, colorful art deco designs.  It was like a giant eBay auction.  I wanted to stand up and yell 'HOW MANY DAYS LEFT?'

But that would have been wrong.

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5 responses to “Princesse Tam Tam

  1. (laughing loudly) Damn I would have loved to have seen that. Perhaps minus the Persian chick.
    You're just a pro at this blogging stuff already. Decorative banner, photos, all the bells and whistles… Very cool indeed.

  2. Wow. Ok, here is what I am going to try to convey. This kind of creativity, of spirit is rare. And, I thank gaaalg, that I have a bit of the appreciative sense to be able to "know" that.To see that gift, to know the pain, the suffering, the sacrifice, that "gift" involves….well, I feel that it is a gift in itself. I will never paint, or sing, or write, or dance, or sculpt, or compose, or paint anything of "worth". But, to be able to appreciate any of these talents is a gift in and of itself. Oh my. I have to copy what I just typed and save it, cuz to me it was….profound. Thanks, Aubrey.

  3. You're too kind, Ms. W.Nanny. Lauri, well, we live to serve. I wish you guys could have seen the show – to ME it was a little cold. I just didn't feel that any of the performers knew what she was about.

  4. Aubrey, an enchanted evening indeed! Josephine Baker was a rare and beautiful tigress in an age of felinity. I hope the show ultimately did her justice, as you have.

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