June 8th, 2006 by Julie Silver
Fastidious J as Julie Andrews, Maria in The Sound of Music. Just as an aside, Judy Aronson, one of my dearest friends, was my Hebrew School principal when I was 4 feet tall. I used to do anything to get thrown out of class and get sent to Judy's office. She had curly hair and blue jeans and she hung the moon. Here we are at the Friar's Club in Beverly Hills where I was about to roast our friend Doug Cotler. I made this dress from some old drapes!
June 6th, 2006 by Julie Silver
Bruce Springsteen was the best I've ever seen him last night at the Greek Theatre. I am more and more convinced each time I see Bruce play live, with or without the E Street Band, that beyond his incredible talent, he endures because he recognizes that he is just one person and that the people around him count just as much as he does. Bruce Springsteen, rock and roll's poet laureate, constantly reminds us of our worth and our responsiblities. Monday night continued the call for action in the areas hit so hard by Hurricane Katrina. This time around he sang in the language of New Orleans–jazz, gospel and blues. As Springsteen explained, "anyone who is a musician knows that New Orleans is sacred land". As usual, Bruce turns our collective attention to where it is most needed.
The Seeger Sessions band was a wildly off the hook collection of jazz and blues players with a horn section that blew our minds, vocalists that sizzled, strings that shredded and keys that unlocked every door in the joint. This band is clearly the best of the best.
After September 11, he released The Rising, a masterpiece collection of poignant, almost liturgical songs. In response to the war in Iraq, he released Devils and Dust, one song more dark and disturbing than the next, and all equally compelling. Now, after Katrina he has released We Shall Overcome, combining the timeless folk songs of Pete Seeger with New Orleans jazz and gospel arrangements. We have a tendency to ignore tragedies like Katrina, to move forward without processing or healing. Bruce Springsteen brings Katrina and New Orleans to us, specifically because we'd rather not go there. If it's painful, he digs in and sticks around–reaching out a hand, convincing us to stay right there with him.
Best of all, Springsteen is a new man every time he takes the stage. It's all over his face. He is just as exhilerated and moved as we are. Nothing could be more exciting than watching a performer who is still excited by what he does. Also, I we rarely get the opportunity to hear Bruce fingerpick! What a treat to hear him play acoustic guitars all night and really hear him play so well.
He constantly gives props to his incredible band and the original songwriters. With every tune, he tells us these old songs are bigger than the singer. Yet we still worship at the alter of Bruce as if he not only composed the songs but wrote the language himself. I always feel like I've gone to the best class after attending a Bruce concert. This one felt like a revival–a day trip to heaven.
The people who do good work at the LA Food Bank waited outside after the concert accepting money that the crowd was all too eager to donate after Bruce made us aware of their presence. It was encouraging to see the same amount of people crowd around the t-shirt line as were on line to give a few dollars to the hungry. It was a great moment when Bruce described the government's response to Hurricane Katrina as "all in a day's work, I guess" and then segued into the most moving rendition of We Shall Overcome the 5,700 of us had ever heard.
Surely, when the saints go marching in, Bruce Springsteen will be right there in that number, with the best of them.