Search This Blog

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Autumn in New York

For a long time, I only knew Harry Connick, Jr.'s version of "Autumn in New York," from the soundtrack to When Harry Met Sally (1989). It's jaunty, for lack of a better word -- the kind of song I play when I'm in a good mood, or when I want to be in a good mood. It might actually be the first NY song I ever loved, though I had absolutely zero dreams of living here, at the time. And every time I hear it, the playlist in my head segues directly into "I Could Write a Book."

Perhaps because I had been so very attached to that soundtrack (I wore it out on my mom's portable cassette player, and eventually on my very own Walkman), it took me a while to warm up to the next version I heard.

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong (1957)

It did, eventually, grow on me. If I'm in the mood for the more melancholy sound, though, I prefer Sarah Vaughan's version, from just a year earlier.

On the random, there's a bit of this version where the instrumentation reminds me of a James Bond theme.

So, it really is Autumn in New York. I've been here for just shy of a week, but am already feeling immersed. My things arrived from California the day after I landed, so there was a scramble to find movers and transfer it all to a storage unit, which was, of course, more expensive than I'd budgeted for. But it was doable, so now it's done. And with that, I have—after 9 months—really, really left the bay area! I've also received word that my New Orleans stuff is (finally) en route to Brooklyn. No clue, yet, what I'll do with it all in the long run. Depending on what apartment I eventually find, it may all end up in storage, or maybe just sold. Either way, it'll feel good to have it all in one place.

After a couple of days spent largely at U-Haul, I've now been able to start exploring and meeting/meeting up with people. I've mostly been in Prospect Heights—I'm crashing here, but it's also turned out that the people I've been meeting up with are in this area as well. Yesterday afternoon, I had brunch (lunch, really) with two ladies I hadn't seen since high school. We went to a Mexican restaurant called Taqueria des los Muertos (not the name I would have chosen). In the evening, I had dinner with a friend of a friend, who had been kind enough to invite me over. We talked until late, and I walked home, around the corner, in the rain. Today, I'll probably drop by and watch a movie with a former coworker from San Francisco, who has recently moved into an apartment right down the street from where I'm staying. It's strange, like acquaintances from far flung times and places have all converged in one place.

So, now I'll start figuring out my place here. I expect to be a bit of a nomad for a while, which I'm beginning to get anxious about. I do think it's all going to work out, but I'll feel better when I know how!

Friday, September 20, 2013

"NYC" and a little music trivia

I've never seen the stage production of Annie. I've also never watched the entire 1999 film, but will need to rectify that sometime. Audra McDonald (Grace) is a boss. Victor Garber (Spy Daddy Warbucks) is a boss. If they weren't awesome enough, there's also Alan Cumming (Rooster), Kristin Chenoweth (Lily), and Kathy Bates (Miss Hannigan)!

This number, NYC, isn't in the 1982 movie (which I watched A LOT as a little girl). Bonus points for the Andrea McArdle cameo.

True story: I thought McArdle was the original stage Annie, but looked it up to confirm. Turns out she wasn't—she replaced the original actress after a week of performances. The role was actually originated by a girl named Kristen Vigard. Funnily enough, I know that name, but only because my friend M. put a fantastic song by her on a mix.

Kristen Vigard - God Give Me Strength

I later heard a cover of the song by Audra McDonald -- Annie full circle! I like both versions, though I tend to prefer Vigard's: I find hers more powerful, though McDonald's is more beautiful.

Also true: I didn't know until tonight that "God Give Me Strength" was a Burt Bacharach tune (written with Elvis Costello for the film Grace of My Heart). It's not as obvious in the version I'm familiar with, but this earlier version (featured in the film, though not on the soundtrack) is totally Bacharachian. And here's Bacharach and Costello performing it on Letterman, for good measure. I'm not enough of an Elvis Costello fan to appreciate that version, but it's still clear that it's a gorgeous song.

Monday, September 16, 2013


"No Sleep Till Brooklyn" by Beastie Boys (Licensed to Ill, 1986)

[Full disclosure: I intend to sleep before Brooklyn.]

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"The streets are paved with diamonds and there's just so much to see..."

"New York City" by They Might Be Giants (Factory Showroom, 1996)

This was a new one to me -- thanks to A.S. for the recommendation. And I wonder, again, why I don't own more TMBG.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

"Rhapsody in Blue"

I'm pretty sure I've read that Gershwin said this was about America, not just New York.

"Rhapsody in Blue" (1924)

But I feel like Gershwin is enough to make it a New York song. Also? 2 of my favorite minutes of music (ever) are in this song. You know the part I mean. It felt awfully fast leading up to it, so I was glad that he slowed down.

Monday, September 2, 2013

If I knew the tunes...

"Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" Elton John (Honky Tonk Ch√Ęteau, 1972)

True story: I was introduced to this song in the form of this cover.

Mandy Moore (Coverage, 2003)