Kay Bourne Arts Report – Issue #65

Contents

RONNIE SPECTOR HAS A WONDERFUL XMAS

EUKA HOLMES’ EXHIBIT DAZZLES AT BAA

WILLIAMS’ NUTCRACKER IS GLORIOUS

ATHLETE OR ARTIST? A “HSM2″ STAR EXPLAINS

TARAJI HENSON SHINES IN “BENJAMIN BUTTON”

FROM THEATER TO SCREEN, DOUBT WORKS

TRIUMPHANT COMEBACK FOR MICKEY ROURKE

JOE’s CHRISTMAS PICS

LISA’s CHRISTMAS MOVIE PICS

UP-COMING EVENTS


RONNIE SPECTOR HAS A WONDERFUL XMAS

by Kay Bourne

4a58f8abb883a693cae5207b76d198fa.81.124 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #65When the cheerful, elfin RONNIE SPECTOR bounces on stage at Showcase Live for her “Ronnie Spector’s Christmas Party,” time shifts for her to a happy childhood in Spanish Harlem. The petit (“nearly 5′ 3,” she estimates) bundle of joy is, in a way, still dancing on top of the coffee table at her grandmother’s house, entertaining a family of 23 first cousins and her mom’s seven brothers and sisters, their wives and husbands – all waiting for little Ronnie to dance and sing. Their applause lives on for her, as do the memories of wonderful, magical Christmas times. “I had a great, great childhood,” she said in a recent phone conversation. “I think that’s why I’m good today on stage,”

“I love everything about Christmas” says the rock ‘n roll icon whose merry spirit sparked record producer Phil Spector’s classic 1963 album “A Christmas Gift to You (from Philles Records).” On this “wall of sound” recording, Ronnie (born Veronica Yvette Bennett) sang with her sister Estelle Bennett and cousin Nedra Talley, identified on the album only as The Ronettes. Among the session musicians in a recording that would be judged later as one of the 500 best albums ever were Sonny Bono on percussion, Barney Kissel on jazz guitar, and Leon Russell on piano; the songs the Ronettes caroled rock ‘n roll style Ronnie Spector sings to this day, Steve Nelson and Walter Rollins’ s “Frosty the Snowman,” Tommy Connors’s “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” and Leroy Anderson and Mitchell Parish’s “Sleigh Ride.”

Spector comments off handedly that “my ex was Jewish,” referring to Phil Spector, “and I told him about my mother and father and my family Christmas memories and he spooned it all up.” Usually in interviews these days, Ronnie makes it a rule to stay away from the subject of her 8-year marriage to the record producer which ended in divorce in 1974 after being subjected to years of his weird and reclusive lifestyle. She’s written an autobiography, “Be My Baby, How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness,” co- authored with Vince Waldron, which was published in 1989 and republished in 2004.

For Ronnie, there’s everything to love about Christmas. “The people are more lively. The colors. The decorations. Everybody’s happy. You go into a grocery store where clerks can be grouchy but not at Christmas. It’s the most important day of the year.

“When I was a kid I loved Christmas so much. I couldn’t wait to put the cookies out for Santa and I knew I’d been a good girl. I can remember at school we read about how Santa comes down a chimney to deliver his toys. I was so upset. I told my daddy ‘we don’t have a chimney.’ He said, ‘no, we have the fire escape. That’s where Santa leaves the toys’ I’d look out the window to see Santa and his sleigh. Daddy would say ‘I think he’s coming but after you go to bed. My mom was a waitress, on her feet all day. But when I begged to go to Macy’s on the day when you got a free photo sitting on Santa’s lap, she took me and we stood for three hours. And she said, ‘you know it’s only once a year.’ All of it has stayed with me my whole life. You know” said the lady known as “the original bad girl of rock ‘n roll,” I’m still a good girl.”

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