Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Gaga over Lady Gaga and Dame Andrews while Oscars balance extravagant gala with the weights of the world

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad

I’m still starstruck by Lady Gaga singing a medley from The Sound of Music followed by the magical appearance of Julie Andrews. To make the surprise even better, I read in an interview that even Gaga didn’t know that Dame Andrews would appear. No wonder she seemed starstruck too.
I have now rewatched Gaga’s performance several times, and I’m feeling nostalgic for the uplifting purity of The Sound of Music, its romance, and the glamour of the Oscar staging of the medley – Lady Gaga – tattoos and all -- swishing  her white dress as she sang “favorite things.”
That song, I recall, is about what one does to combat fear – sing and recall beauty -- in tough and dangerous times.
            I remind myself that The Sound of Music hinges a love story and singing lessons that win over a whole family of motherless children against the backdrop of encroaching evil – the Nazis taking over Austria. Von Trapp and his family either have to join them or flee.  The movie was so charming and powerful that on it’s 50th anniversary, it is honored as one of the most popular of all time.
Earlier in the evening Reese Witherspoon promoted the  “ask her more”campaign  – encouraging reporters to ask some of the most glamorous women of our day at one the toniest televised events of the year – something besides who/what they were wearing as they stopped and posed on the red carpet. 
 I’m glad she did.  The premise is that even at the Oscars men get asked more interesting questions than women. Yet, one of my favorite things is Oscar night fashion –  such a fairy tale gala replete with bedecked and bejeweled stars, one that offers respite from the concerns of the day.
Oscar winners in turn, reminded us they were not above such concerns themselves. They used their precious acceptance minutes to thank others and to tell viewers that the movies and those who make them often deal with the gravest issues of our day – discrimination, illness, incarceration, unequal pay for equal work – and most poignantly suicide.

It’s all about balance. If recalling favorite things may help to make us feel less bad and less fearful, the spectacle of a gala may well be one good place to deliver social messages to a world in need of dire changes.  

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