Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Vintage Wedding Playlist

Pretty much all of us have been to a wedding where The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” has been played, and maybe you had the same thought I had while watching the newlyweds dance to it: This song is about stalking. Or maybe you have heard Frank Sinatra’s “These Foolish Things” and wondered if the lovebirds realized that the “cigarette that bears a lipstick’s traces” was reminding Frank that he was now alone. Alone. Alone. Alone. So, sidestep any kind of musical faux pas (whether it is your first wedding or fifth) and go with this playlist of romantic songs that are guaranteed to melt even the coldest heart. And even if your wedding is at the courthouse and you are toasting your new union at home with just the two of you, these songs on your iPhone will take you to the pinnacle of romance. We wish you many years of happiness!

Pro Tip: If you are having a full reception with a cocktail hour and dinner, you can start things off with a soft instrumental mix, and then work in songs with lyrics as you get closer to the dancing portion of the evening.

1. The Way You Look Tonight - Frank Sinatra
Fred Astaire charmed millions of women when he sang this in the movie Swing Time as Ginger Rogers was washing her hair nearby and feeling less than gorgeous. Dorothy Fields (who wrote the lyrics) said that when Jerome Kern played her the melody he had written, she “went out and started to cry…I couldn’t stop, it was so beautiful.” I am tearing up right now and feeling a glow just thinking of Frank’s lovely 1964 version.

2. Come Rain Or Come Shine – Ray Charles
Written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, Ray had a hit with this in both 1960 and 1968. You may have heard the line, “We’ll be happy together, unhappy together” and wondered why the heck anyone would stick around to be unhappy together. At some point, though, you will discover that being unhappy with the right person is better than being happy with the wrong one. This is a wonderful song and tribute to a love that lasts through the ups and downs of life.

3. How I Will Say I Love You – Tony DeSare
“Call My Name
I’ll be at your door
Cry out loud
I’ll hold you till it’s over
And that’s how I will say
I love you.”
Need I say more?!

4. Love Is Here To Stay – Dinah Washington
Written by George and Ira Gershwin in the 1930s (and sometimes referred to as Our Love Is Here To Stay), you may have first heard it as the main theme for the 1951 Gene Kelly movie An American In Paris. Dinah’s version is so romantic, and I love the “thing” in her voice (Is it a growl? A purr?) that just completely pulls you in.

5. That's All – Steve Tyrell
If all you can give me is country walks in springtime, a love that lasts forever, your heart to own, a hand to hold when leaves begin to fall, and arms to enfold me…the answer is “Si!”

6. At Last – Etta James
When you listen to this classic from Etta (born Jamesetta Hawkins), you will understand why she has influenced everyone from Christina Aguilera to Diana Ross to Rod Stewart. Hello, blue skies, and goodbye, loneliness!

7. I Get A Kick Out Of You – Rod Stewart
Don’t we all want to be the one person to thrill the guy or gal who is thrilled by nothing? Although if champagne is not giving you a kick, you might try a different brand (or switch to tequila). Rod’s fun version will liven up your reception, and you can use the opportunity to share a naughty detail you learned about him in his book, Rod: The Autobiography.

8. My One And Only Love – Chris Botti with Paula Cole
When you pair a handsome trumpet player with the lovely vocals of the gal who did the Dawson’s Creek theme, the result is swoon-worthy. Plus, you can get this as a ring tone for your cell to play when your new spouse calls you.

9. Unforgettable - Nat King Cole
This one was almost called Uncomparable (“Uncomparable…that’s what you are…), which I don’t think has quite the charm of Unforgettable. Nat’s version, with the awesome Nelson Riddle arrangement, was recorded in 1951 and is still the most popular one, though we do love the David Foster remix of Nat’s 1961 recording that turns it into a duet with his daughter, Natalie.

10. Orange Colored Sky - Natalie Cole
“Flash, bam, alacazam, Wonderful you came by.” That is about as good of a way to describe being struck by one of Cupid’s arrows as I have ever heard. Lady Gaga has performed this song numerous times, including once while wearing a dress made of hair. Do you use conditioner on that?

A bonus tune that you can bust out that is pretty much guaranteed to get Grandma out on the floor and shakin’ what her mama gave her is Glenn Miller’s In The Mood. You can never, ever go wrong with that one to liven things up.

And, if you are feeling a little cheeky, here is one you can play for all the singles: Toni Tennille’s version of Cole Porter’s Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall In Love. Seriously, even educated fleas do it, so there is a good chance someone at your wedding will at least fall in like.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Disney Adventure in Deco

There are certain things you can count on when you spend a day at Disney, like the best attractions, and food in the shape of mouse ears, or groups of adults in matching t-shirts proclaiming their family’s tenth reunion.  But now, when you visit Disney California Adventure Park, you can add Art Deco to that list. 

Buena Vista Street is a glam new addition to the park, and as noted on the Disney website, it captures “the spirit of optimism and opportunity that Walt Disney discovered in Los Angeles when he stepped off the train in 1923.”  I (Lara) think the twenties and thirties must have been a fascinating, albeit challenging, time to have been alive and to have pursued a career in balmy, smog-free Southern California (what was that like to be able to see the mountains every day?), and certainly Walt personified that Deco spirit of hopefulness, excitement, and dreaming big.

You might find yourself saying, “Hey, that’s Art Deco!” as soon as you arrive at the gates of California Adventure and spot the pale blue and white, Streamline Moderne, Pan Pacific Auditorium-inspired entrance.  The Pan Pacific was built in 1935 on West Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles, burned down in 1989, and in between hosted everything from a home show to an ice rink to concerts.

There’s more Streamline to your left once you enter the park, in the form of a gas station with cream and red colors, smooth corners, speed lines, and a pylon on top that simply says, “GAS.”  It reminds me of the Firestone Garage on La Brea (just south of Wilshire) that has been around since 1937 and was recently saved from demolition. (Thank you, Art Deco Society of Los Angeles and everyone that was involved in the rescue!)

Just ahead is the Carthay Circle Theatre, which is impossible to miss. As the Depression deepened, movies offered a way of escape, making it easy to forget your troubles for a few hours while immersed in the drama on the screen and the beauty of a luxurious movie house, and the Carthay Circle Theatre was one of the most beautiful and glamorous. 

Opened in 1926 on San Vicente Boulevard, this Spanish Revival-style building captured the Deco spirit by hosting many glamorous Hollywood premieres, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 and Fantasia in 1941. It was torn down in 1969.  

Moving further into the park, you may decide that it is time for a snack, so you can stop to buy some fresh fruit, water, and Mickey Mouse Freeze-Dried Apples in this Deco-detailed Market! It may well be the most glam place I have ever bought an orange. 

Check out the metalwork on the awning, the motif just under the roof, and the lettering and speed lines in the background on the Lockers building. And nice symmetry with the windows and panels there, too!

Ready to do a little shopping? Well, step right up to the Streamline Moderne-style Elias & Co. Department Store, but not before pausing a moment to admire those sleek rounded corners, speed lines, use of metal that is reminiscent of the grille on a car, and palette of what looks like three colors (white, cream, and bronze).
You will also see some Deco touches on the buildings lining each side of the street as you ride the Red Car Trolley, and your trolley host will most likely draw your attention to it as they point out various styles of architecture. I’m thinking that there needs to be a full-on Disney Art Deco tour one of these days! We volunteer to lead it, and wish only to be paid in Mickey Mouse Freeze-Dried Apples.

Some fun things to note:
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror building, like the Carthay Circle Theatre, is not recognizably Art Deco, but it has always reminded me of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, which has that glamorous Deco feel to it. Minus the out of control elevators you will find at California Adventure that we love. We love them so much!
  • Get the free Disney Park Mobile Magic App, which will give you information about Disney California Adventure and Disneyland. Once you are there, the app will “unlock” more details, like wait times for attractions and when shows are starting and parades are happening.
  • Keep an ear out for Dean Mora and his Orchestra as recorded background music on Buena Vista Street! I have loved hearing their incredible music at the Art Deco Ball on Catalina Island and at Cicada Club in Downtown Los Angeles, so it was a treat to hear them in Anaheim while wearing Mouse Ears.

 Contact Info:
Disney California Adventure
1313 Disneyland Drive
 Anaheim, CA 92802
(714) 781-4565