Manolo says, the Manolo, at the behest of his middle-aged, dance-loving friend Herr Professor Dr. von Korncrake, has been looking at the videos of older male dancers, over the age of 50 (such as the good Professor) who are still capable of cutting the rug in vibrant style.
Here is Fred Astaire at age 52.
Gene Kelly at age 53.
Jimmy Cagney at 56 and Bob Hope at 52…
And most amazingly, the great tap dancer Jimmy Slyde at age 71 (trust the Manolo, your really must see this one, especially the section from about 2:10 until about 2:30).
Manolo says, apropo of the Manolo’s recent post about Del Shannon’s Runaway, Manolo’s internet friend Litchee, of the French blog, L’Antre du Fruit Changeant , has alerted the Manolo to the French version of Runaway.
Released in 1974 by the Dutch entertainer Dave, under the title Vanina, this version sold over one million singles in France .
The flashing-crazy, runaway-bride eyes suggest that Dave does not feel Del Shannon’s existential pain.
Manolo says, for the past several days, the Manolo has been obsessed with Del Shannon and his 1961 super smash hit, Runaway, the song the Manolo considers one of the three or four greatest rock and roll songs of all time.
The opening guitar chords and electronic “musitron” interlude of Runaway are still utterly compelling at the distance of nearly fifty years, however, for the Manolo, it the intense and defiant vulnerability in Del Shannon’s voice as he sings his own plaintive lyrics that make this song more than the sum of its parts.
But judge for yourself. Here is the relatively early video of Del Shannon singing Runaway.
And here is the best of the later versions, from 1982 (it begins about one minute in).
Manolo says, if like the Manolo you are the person who occasionally feels wistful for the early 1980s, this one-hit wonder from Toto Coelo will cure you riki-tik.
Manolo says, the Manolo has already posted the link to this in his Twitter feed, but it deserves reposting in full here because it will bring joy to those who see it.
If the sight of this solidly-built middle-aged man getting his funk on does not bring the smile to your face, you are perhaps without hope.
There is more below the jump.
Manolo says, lately, the Manolo has been in the Elaine Stritch sort of mood.
And now that you have enjoyed this, go watch this documentary clip all the way through to the end, so that you may witness the power of good hair and makeup to bring about the artistic triumph.
Manolo says, the Manolo has recently discovered and become completely obsessed with the website Square America, the site devoted to the American snapshot, as collected and organized by Nicholas Osborn.
The shot shown above is from the On The Street , which is described as the collection of,
37 photos taken by the professional photographers who staked out the streets of major cities and tourist spots and took candid snapshots which they would then attempt to sell to their subjects, promising them “Natural pictures of you in motion.” For the most part hastily shot and incredibly poorly printed these photos are nevertheless are invaluable record of streetlife from the 30s through the 50s.
Here is yet another picture from the Square America site.
This one is from the collection entitled “On Beauty (And Its Discontents)”, described as,
Almost 85 photos on the idea of feminine beauty. Expect pin-up girls and beauty queens, mirrors, make-up and more!
But these two photos are but the small part of the enormous and endlessly fascinating collections that await those who visit Square America.
Manolo says, it is Tuesday, time to see what the Manolo is…
The Manolo finally managed to see the Sex and the City movie.
His reaction: In the word, meh.
Although supposedly set in the present day, the movie seemed dated, as if it were the daguerreotype from the previous millennium, quaintly hinting at the outdated customs and obsolete mores of the distant past.
On the one of the hands, Carrie and her pals were sweeter and more vulnerable, more desperately romantic, than we have ever before seen them (although less funny). They were also more likable than ever, except for Cynthia Nixon, who should be dropped down the long mine shaft and left there until she realizes how truly blessed her cinematic life (with its great job, wonderful child, and good-looking if drippy man) is.
The girls were also, despite the smutty talk and Kim Cantrell’s absurdly sexualized character, entirely monogamous in their relationships, which was something of the relief to the old man Manolo, who believes that intense monogamous love between two peoples is perhaps the greatest of the Almighty’s gifts.
Yet, while there were good things, on the other of the hands, the movie dragged on interminably, piling up senseless subplots and meaningless details. Yawn.
Worse, the movie’s attempts at bringing the romantic longings of the characters (and the audience) to fruition were misguided and inadequate. Shaped as the semi-conventional romantic comedy, Sex and the City contained little that could be considered romantic.
Take for the example, Mr. Big, held up by the movie as the choicest piece of man meat to ever tread the earth, with his dyed hair, droopy jowls, shaped eyebrows, and his indecisive, dreary, somnambulantly sulky ways. At least he was rich, moderately available, tall, and rich (did the Manolo mention that he was rich? It was very important in this movie, the richiosity of Mr. Big, because it means he was able to buy Park Avenue apartments and fill their commodious closets with swag.)
Query: What is less romantic than the vacillating, indecisive, weakly lover?
Answer: The movie that confuses wealth for romantic desirability.
Oh, how the Manolo wishes he could have swapped Chris Noth for Tom Selleck!
Tom Selleck: charming, virile, decisive, funny, cheerful, and at 63, still the hunkiest man in Hollywood!
Chris Noth in Sex and the City: drippy!
But, you must play the hand you were dealt, and Mr. Big is apparently the only man who would have Carrie Bradshaw, looking, as she does, ever more like Miss Havisham…
I saw that the bride within the bridal dress had withered like the dress, and like the flowers, and had no brightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes. I saw that the dress had been put upon the rounded figure of a young woman, and that the figure upon which it now hung loose, had shrunk to skin and bone. Once, I had been taken to see some ghastly waxwork at the Fair, representing I know not what impossible personage lying in state. Once, I had been taken to one of our old marsh churches to see a skeleton in the ashes of a rich dress, that had been dug out of a vault under the church pavement. Now waxwork and skeleton seemed to have dark eyes that moved and looked at me. I should have cried out, if I could.
~Charles Dickens, Great Expectations.
And frankly this is another of the problems of the movie. attempting to sell us lean mutton as plump lamb.
This is not to say that romantic comedies that feature middle aged persons cannot be good, and satisfying, and funny, only that Carrie wanted to play the part of the virginal ingenue, rather than the mature woman with the frightening romantic history. The potential for humor and romanticism was undermined by this insistence.
But, the Manolo is confident that the actor of Tom Selleck’s caliber could have convinced even the most skeptical, disbelieving audience that Sarah Jessica Parker is the hotty, could have convinced us that she is the suitable lead for the romantic comedy.
Ultimately, for the Manolo, the only romantic scene in the entire movie was the wedding at the courthouse, with Carrie in the demure suit, and Mr. Big finally wakened from his movie-long slumber. But, if Sex and the City were truly romantic, that would have happened in the first act of the fifteen minute long, single reel film, which would be followed by the feature length Tom and Jerry cartoon.