The 30th annual Kennedy Center Honors will air on CBS tonight, at 9:00 p.m., EST.
Started in conjunction with the new National Cultural Center (now known as The Kennedy Center), these honors recognize recipients for their lifetime contributions to the American culture through the performing arts. The 2007 Kennedy Honorees are:
While I generally agree with most of the recipients of the award, I think that it is a “who you know” award. I’ve always felt that Diana Ross was a manufactured star because of her relationship with Barry Gordy and that she abandoned “her girls” in the Supremes, even though Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard were equally, if not more, talented than “Ms. Ross”. It’s likely the success of Dreamgirls stoked her nomination, but it was great to see that story receive national recognition so that people know more of the real story.
Interestingly, none of the original Beach Boys attended the ceremony. While I think that Brian Wilson is/was a great songwriter and the epicenter of a group that invented it’s own genre of muisc, he certainly would not have attained the success he did without his brothers, Dennis and Carl, Mike Love, and Al Jardine. Also, Brian’s descent into drug abuse and mental illness put a definite strain on the band and their success.
There have been many battles between the members of the Beach Boys over the years, and the deaths of Dennis and Carl have severed any connection Brian Wilson had to the old Beach Boys, other than Mike Love is his cousin. It’s simply sad not to see them all together to celebrate a lifetime achievement award for Brian, especially considering the emotional rollercoaster that has been his life. As such, you’ll have to settle for Hootie & The Blowfish’s rendition of I Get Around and California Girls.
TODAY’s TRIVIA: Who replaced Brian Wilson after his anxiety-riddled withdrawal from The Beach Boys touring in late 1964? An upcoming young guitarist named Glen Campbell.
ETA: I would be remiss if I didn’t include a little background on the fantastically talented and determined Leon Fleisher. Fleisher is an accomplished concert pianist known for his interpretations and performances of Brahms and Beethoven. In 1964, Fleisher loss the use of his right hand due to a muscular disease known as focal dystonia, that tightens the muscles and twists and contorts the hand. He continued to play his with his left hand and was a prolific teacher and conductor.
In 2004, over 40 years after losing the use of his right hand, treatments of botox and massage-therapy provided the use of both hands again. The documentary of his triumph, “Two Hands” won an Academy Award this past year for Best Short Documentary.