Hi, Zoners! It’s a deliciously musical week on the Report, with a rocker, a Broadway legend, and a classic folkie on the roster. There should certainly be lots for our Emilyoo to write about! And of course, on Thursday, comes the gal we’ve all been waiting breathlessly for: AMY SEDARIS!!!! If we must have a holiday break, then this is going to send us off on the highest note. Joy to the Zoners!
Monday, December 14th: Patti Smith
The week is off to a rockin’ start with poet, painter, performance artist, and “godmother of punk,” the one and only Patti Smith. Best known for her recording of Because the Night (co-written with Bruce Springsteen), Smith had her own, eponymously named band before briefly retiring into motherhood. She later returned to the stage after her husband’s death, and Rolling Stone magazine included her in their list of “The Immortals: The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.” Smith has also collaborated with Michael Stipe of R.E.M. and toured with Bob Dylan.
This past November, Smith won critical acclaim and the National Book Award for her autobiographical memoir Just Kids, which chronicles her youthful relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Mapplethorpe, who later came out as gay, produced stunning but sexually explicit homoerotic images that sent conservatives into an apoplectic frenzy. (Some things never change, it seems.) He died of AIDS in 1989. Smith’s website is PattySmith.net.
Fract: Smith was raised in an extremely religious family of Jehovah’s Witnesses, but later wrote: “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, not mine.”
Tuesday, December 14: Stephen Sondheim
West Side Story. A Little Night Music. Company. Follies. Sweeney Todd. Into the Woods. That’s only a small sample of Stephen Sondheim’s amazing theatrical achievements. As you might remember, not too long ago, in an interview with Aaron Sorkin, Stephen began singing a song from Sunday in the Park with George, so he’s clearly a fan.
Recognized as the greatest living Broadway composer, Sondheim has received an Academy Award, eight Tony Awards, several Grammys, and (continuing a theme from last week) a Pulitzer Prize. He recently celebrated his 80th birthday with a huge concert (televised on PBS), starring Patti LuPone, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters, Elaine Stritch, and other of his favorite performers. In addition, the former Henry Miller Theatre has now been renamed in his honor. Mr. Sondheim also authored Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes, and the book was reviewed in the New York Times by another of this week’s guests, Paul Simon. I raise a toast to Mr. Sondheim, in hopes of many more years and many more songs from this master.
Fract: He did a cameo as himself in the 2003 film Camp, as the hero of a group of musical comedy geeks spending the summer at a special theater camp. He has also appeared in The Simpsons.
Wednesday, December 15: Laird Hamilton
Surf’s up! Rider of the big waves and co-inventor of tow-in surfing Laird Hamilton was born in California, but moved to Hawaii at a young age with his mother. When just 17, he was discovered on the beach and became a model for such high-fashion magazines as L’uomo vogue (the Italian version of Men’s Vogue). Instead of engaging in competitive surfing (as his stepfather Bill Hamilton had), Hamilton chose to surf for the fun and challenge, always striving to take the sport to new heights. He appeared in the 1987 movie North Shore, had his own line of clothing until 2009, and is an environmental activist. He’s also on the board of directors of H2O Audio, a watersports music company. Since 1997, he has been married to former professional volleyball player Gabrielle Reece.
Fract: Life in the ocean comes natrually to Hamilton. His mother gave birth to him in an experimental salt-water sphere at UCSF Medical Center.
Thursday 12/16: Amy Sedaris, Paul Simon
She’s back, and boy are we glad to see her! Is there any Zoner who doesn’t yet know this friend of the show, friend of Stephen’s (and Paul Dinello’s), and friend of poor crafters across the nation? Fellow Second City alum Amy Sedaris is, of course, the cocreator of Exit 57 and Strangers with Candy with Stephen and Paul, and has appeared in numerous films and TV shows, including one of my favorites, Denis Leary’s Rescue Me. She, Paul, and Stephen co-authored Wigfield: The Can-Do Town That Just May Not, and Amy has also written several plays (some in collaboration with brother David). Her books include the recently released Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People, written with Paul Dinello, and I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence. (And we like you too, Amy.)
And that’s not all, folks: Tonight’s musical guest is Paul Simon, the New York City-born singer and songwriter whose career began in the folk duo Simon and Garfunkel. He later went on to explore world music with the South African-influenced and Grammy-winning record Graceland and the Brazilian-themed The Rhythm of the Saints, featuring Milton Nascimento and one of my favorite groups: Olodum. His upcoming album, set for release in 2011, is called So Beautiful or So What.
That’s an awful lot packed into this one show, and it should leave us with plenty of holiday happiness.
Now, in place of a Fract, here’s some eye candy, featuring our favorite threesome!