Monday, July 6, 2009


Watching a television program on Jimmy Hendrix, waiting for him to smash his guitar, we switched to New York City's fireworks.

We're in walking distance from the Hudson River. The explosions made it seem as if our home was surrounded by the enemy attacking in the area. Bombs rattling the windows in New York ... that is a terror to which you cannot reconcile yourself.

We switched to a view of the explosions, immediately aware of more colors, more glittering, cascading flowers, in the sky. The orchestra was playing loud lyrical music when we tuned in, tunes that didn't seem to fit the fireworks, though we knew that the explosions were computerized.

Back to Hendrix, playing left-handed with his instrument behind him, over his head, under a leg, guitar upside down, or flipped over on the floor -- one hand plucking, teeth plucking. His pounding, louder and louder climatic, full-out sounds got us contagiously nodding, toe tapping and thinking "this is sort of tiresome." As were the fireworks --impressing us, not thrilling us.

I found myself thinking Macy's spent too much money on this. And Hendrix madly inventing new, crazy, wild positions for plucking away, singing while chewing gum, seemed to be wowing us, not with his music, but with his tour de force technique ...

The orchestra went into its final medley of "America the Beautiful," "Stars and Stripes," "Glory Hallelujah," with views of amazed youngsters, views of blandly pleased adults. With me thinking, "Enough already," glad it was going to be over in a minute, clicking back to Hendrix out of control, burning, bashing, and destroying his guitar.

We watched the Chuck Berry segment that came next, restlessly waiting, and peeved -- we wanted to hear him play his guitar and perform, and all we heard was experts and Chuck himself explaining his importance to Rock & Roll. Finally, a minute before the show ended, we saw a film clip -- Chuck playing four bars of his "Maybelline" hit song, and three seconds of his duck walk.

It brought us back to news, about the moon-walking Jackson's funeral. Over and over the tale is being told, making much of the sadness talk dreary and unreal.

Spur of the moment we tuned in "1776"' to see JC playing the South Carolina senator, and our personal friends -- Bill Daniels (Adams), Virginia Vestoff ( his wife), Howard DaSilva, Ken Howard , Billy Duell -- the list goes on -- we haven't seen the film and these friends in a very long time. JC was in the Broadway show "1776" when my back was broken in a car crash. Members of the cast chipped in, and bought us four flights of a gliding stairway, so that I could get physical therapy at the hospital.

The movie -- that's a trip -- to see the young spectacularly masculine, sexy, commanding Senator, hear John Cullum singing "Molasses to Rum."

That was a thrill -- the lump in one's throat one gets as we are pulling for the senators to sign the Declaration of Independence -- the final freeze bring tears to our eyes as the Liberty Bell clangs.

Fireworks, Hendrix, Berry didn't say much to me -- but "1776" -- our friends, the music, the songs, the vision was deeply moving.

1 comment:

Carola said...

At least in NYC many of the most dangerous fireworks are illegal for private people to own. In our community, people buy all kinds of very dangerous fireworks and set them off in their neighborhoods. We are now reading the stories of fires and damaged roofs. Somebody shot off shells onto an old lady's roof. She lived alone with her cat and didn't even realize her roof was on fire until a neighbor got her (and her cat) out of her house. There was terrible damage to her roof and her house.