Sunday, August 23, 2009

Fred Astaire equals Joy

Fred Astaire stole my heart when I was seven. My grandmother bribed me with a large bag of M&Ms to accompany her to a double feature of "Top Hat" and "Shall We Dance." I could not believe it was possible for two people to move so effortlessly and with so much joy. I watched goggle-eyed, my head flooding with questions. How did they do all that without missing a beat? How did Fred avoid tripping on Ginger's gown? How did she leap and twirl in those heels without twisting her ankle? Why didn't men dress that way anymore? How many years of ballet lessons - which I loathed - would it take for me to be able to dance that way? Listening to Lola sigh through all the dance sequences, I worried she was going to fall into a swoon and embarrass me. She needed a large Manhattan to revive her after the film and let me have a sip of her drink on the condition that I not tell my grandfather or my mother. That was the beginning of my love affair with Manhattans too.

Who can watch this video and not be gladdened by it? Not me. Do turn up the volume and view it full screen. The Vienna-based duo dZihan & Kamien's downtempo beat on "Stiff Jazz" from their album "Gran Riserva" provides the perfect backdrop to Fred Astaire and Ginger Roger's dazzling footwork. However, I think that it might be Astaire's sister Adele with him in some of the dance sequences, although I could be wrong.

No matter, it's all very uplifting. Especially on days when Facebook is littered with the irritating flotsam of Mafia Wars scores and quiz results of addle-pated friends in their 40s or older who are hell-bent on informing me that they have nothing better to do with their lives apart from using sundry Facebook applications as a monumental time-suck. Friend's sample quiz: What Chocolate Are You? Result: Mars bar. Me: Mars bars are NOT chocolate, you pathetic, muttonheaded galoot.

All right, I'll stop grumping about Facebook lameness now and look at this again. Ah, if only I had the fixings for a Manhattan.

My thanks to the clever person who put these film clips and this music together, and to my lovely friend Mnemosyne who patiently explained how I could embed this video onto my blog.


Waldo said...

Thanks for another good post! I love the music and Fred Astaire too!u

Anonymous said...

For years my "ideal" man looked like Gene Kelly and danced like Fred Astaire. Then I hit early teens and switched to surfers. Ah me!

Anonymous said...

It's hard not to smile watching this. Unparalleled footwork, indeed! Am majorly crushing on Fred Astaire right now.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing Fred back into my conscience - I had forgotten about him! Can you believe that? He really is poetry in motion. Love it. Strangely enough, it was my dad who introduced me to him and the day you posted that video, August 23, is the anniversary of his death 12 years ago. It seems strangely apt, bearing in mind I had just read 'A Flower Falls.' Is it appropriate to say thank you for these two posts?

Megatonlove said...

Thank you everyone for your comments. I like finding stuff that makes me happy, passing it on to others simply doubles the pleasure.

areyoureceivingme - Don't you love these 'coincidences' that occur when you stumble upon a memory from an unexpected quarter? I'm glad you enjoyed both posts.