Monday, June 10, 2013

Birthday Girl: Lost

91 today.  I don't know that I've ever heard anyone but Lenya sing this, that I remember, and it boggles the mind to think that this was what pop television - even, admittedly, failed pop television - was like a half-century ago (feeling old yet?).

Watching Garland sing it - make it her own, no mean feat up against the likes of the Widow Weill - makes me realize what, in the right hands, can make this song so devastating: it's about being profoundly alone (watch her as she sings that word), existentially lost in a vast and uncaring universe - but it ends in, of all things, the first person plural: we're lost, out here in the stars.  Seeing her standing there, slim in her crisp Aghayan gown, on a stage that's a runway to nowhere, her steamer trunk at once an altar and a fortress against the dark void, it's hard to imagine a more solitary performer, or one who so wholly pulls you in, dangerously, darkly, warmly, with a kindness as infinite as her despair. We're lost out here, with the star.

Happy birthday, Frances Gumm, wherever you are.


  1. Is it really!? Oh my goodness. This (she) deserves a drink at least.

  2. Love Judy, love Weill, but this performance could be titled "Lost in the Mannerisms." (Turn off the sound and you'd swear it was "The Man That Got Away.") And Judy seems so tense -- that same Christmas Special tense when I guess she knew her show was being (or had been) axed by CBS.

    1. She's not a calm lady, of course, but I do think it works on her own terms. When you think about it, Lenya is just as replete with her own tics, but we're so used to hearing Weill in her voice (or I am, at least) that I suppose we don't notice them in the same way.