Years ago my children were appalled when I confessed to not being a great fan of the Beatles. The group was so popular but Rock n Roll is not my favorite type of music even after I viewed Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr on the Ed Sullivan Show. However, little by little I listened and enjoyed “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Hey, Jude,” and some other of their songs. Then I learned the happy news that one of the Beatles, Paul McCartney, the songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and composer was recording a collection of standards for his fifteenth studio album. I hastened to drop a hint to my son Andy and, in the mail, came “Kisses on the Bottom.” It surprised me to learn that McCartney selected the same songs he grew up listening to in his childhood, the same ones I did. They were recorded with Diana Krall and her band. The lady is a great musician in her own right. The album’s name came from the lyrics in jazzman Fats Waller’s 1935 hit, “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter.” My mom always played and sang that song and, flash forward to today so does the Bayonne Senior Orchestra. In “Kisses on the Bottom,” McCartney glides and croons over the lyrics. He communicates with an easy confidence, relaxed and assured, giving a sense of having a good time. It all interested me enough to go back to the history of the Beatles where I discovered that Paul McCartney was the main composer and singer with the famous group. He totaled seventy. Only John Lennon did more, seventy-two. Currently the former Beatle, now 72 years old, and double Rock n Roll Hall of Fame inductee is on a 2016 One on One world tour. On August 7 his tour will be at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford. You won’t see me there because I don’t enjoy crowds made up of screaming, screeching audiences. Perhaps I should get sonic filters for my ears. Happily Paul McCartney has staying power. Go, man, go!
When the name of actress, director, and writer Sally Field comes up I immediately think of the acceptance speech upon receiving her 1985 Best Actress Oscar. “I can’t deny the fact that you like me – right now – you like me. Thank you!” This enthusiastic comment made Field the subject of numerous jokes and quips. Well, because of television re-runs, I remember and enjoyed her work in “Forrest Gump” (1984). She played the part of Tom Hanks’ mother so perfectly in the whimsical hit even though she was only ten years older than Hanks. Being born to an actress mother she grew up in show business enduring a difficult home life. She found solace when she landed in the drama department as an extra-curricula activity in school. Playing many parts, the most recent one is the film “Hello, My Name Is Doris!” Fields plays an endearing if slightly unhinged bookkeeper in her sixties who finds herself lusting obsessively over a handsome co-worker decades her junior. As Doris Miller (Sally Field) she’s a fish out of water in her cubicle at a hip young media company in Chelsea. Doris, hypersensitive, socially awkward, she’s smitten by the charming twenty-something new art director and takes unusual measures to get his attention aided by the teen-age granddaughter of her best friend. The movie’s tone is sentimentally comedic, blending wit, whimsy, and drama, giving no answers to aging, solitude, and irrelevance. Perhaps there are none.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the world’s leading art museums with a collection spanning more than 5,000 years of world culture from pre-history to the present. I find it overwhelming so I’m going to focus on only one space that has spectacular views. It’s a site-specific installation atop the Met’s Cantor Roof Garden. Set against the backdrop of Central Park and the skyline of Manhattan, I still remember my first visit in 1992. That visit made me aware of the iconic American artist, Jeff Koons. With an open mouth and wide eyes I viewed his 42-1/2-foot-tall topiary sculpture of a West Highland Terrier entitled “Puppy.” I’ve been a follower of Koons’ playful work since then. Opened in 1987 the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Cantor Roof Garden has sprouted all manner of art – giant safety pins to balloon dogs to a towering bamboo village — much of it newly made or conceived for the warm weather space overlooking Central Park. Well, this month, through October 2016 there’s the fourth in a series of site-specific commissions for the outdoor space. Currently the British artist Cornelia Parker has created remarkable works. She looks at things we think of as familiar and up-ends our perception of them. If you can’t get to the Cantor Roof Garden at the Met in the next few months there’s plenty of time. The breathtaking views make it a romantic place too. It’s also a place where priceless works of art can be enjoyed. In fact, it’s usually packed with people from around the world. I’ll never forget the time two Asian tourists asked if they could take a picture of me and my companion to show the folks back home. Of course we smilingly said “Yes!
Do you like your first name? I’ve been asking that question as a warm-up when I start to teach a new class. It surprises me that the answers are often “No.” That came to my mind when I thought about my late husband who was happy to get a nickname, Hy (he was dubbed that because he was tall), in place of Isaac. Flash forward to a fashion designer who is very pleased with his first name. You probably recognized that I am referring to Isaac Mizrahi. He is best known for his eponymous fashion line. In addition he had a five-year run at creating an image of Target as a style destination. Target based its entire business on creating a safe home for celebrity designers to reach a broader and less affluent audience. His success inspired other high-end designers like Vera Wang to break an industry taboo by simultaneously designing for luxury and mass consumers. I chuckled to learn about Mizrahi’s early life. His father gave him a sewing machine at the age of ten. Ha! Today he stars in “Isaac Mizrahi Live,” a call-in home shopping TV show that airs weekly on the QVC Network. He is currently at work on a television series and memoir. When questioned about the status of that, he answered, “I think it’s probably going to be published in 2017. The more I write on it, the more I discover how long it takes to write something good.” His is a multi-hyphenated life. Folks, I needed to run to the dictionary for that word — “a person with a hyphenated profession as in singer-songwriter, actor-director, but especially a person with several such roles.” Whew! That’s Isaac Mizrahi to a T. I’m guessing he likes his first name. And now, in addition, I have a handsome grandson who is pleased to be called David Isaac. Personally I love my first name because June rhymes so nicely with “tune!”
You can e-mail June Sturz at firstname.lastname@example.org