Kathleen Battle- B, August 14, 1948
I heard Kathleen Battle is difficult. I heard she’s a bit of a b*, and demanding, and prissy, and was fired [oh yes, the MET canned her, dahling… didn’t you hear??] and complained about peas in her pasta, and, and, and… frankly, I’m afraid of her. Kathleen Battle is the quintessential Mozart soprano. Light & trilly, with a warmth that surprises you, then washes over you. I don’t even get that super-psysed for opera… I like it well enough for certain songs, but a steady diet? nahhh…. But I like Ms Battle!
Seriously, tho, I’ve never heard a better Susanna in “The Marriage of Figaro”. Whenever I hear her I always think about the scene in “Amadeus” where that soprano tries out for Mozart… I wonder what he’d do if he heard Kathleen! Then again, not entirely sure if she’d make it to Salzburg, or if she’d even be in a position to be heard… hm…;) in MY story she would! She’d be some charming washer woman singing thru her window, and Wolfgang’d be stumbling home from a night of debauchery in the wee hours… then all of a sudden he stops in his tracks: “Wer ist dieser singvogel??“ you betcha Wolfie! The Dark Continent doesn’t disappoint!
Yes, Kathleen Battle is [was?] a Diva. Entitled didn’t even begin to describe her. Perhaps her very public firing from the Metropolitan Opera House humbled her? I hope not too much. Her soprano is extraordinary and will hold you happily captive. Being a woman of color in this particular vocal arena is tricky – why not jazz Kathleen? How about R&B? or that intriguing pop cross-over?? NO. Tiptoe around & bow obsequiously? Not even slightly. I understand her motive. May have been a bad PR move to go that over the top, but maybe not, because she’s still around, a little older, a little wiser, a little chubbier– still gorgeous… doing her more humble ‘redemption‘ performances- it’s still a business after all… those famous trills don’t go as high, but that voice isn’t going anywhere, while she’s still with us.
“The question is not… if art is enough to fulfill my life, but if I am true to the path I have set for myself, if I am the best I can be in the things I do. Am I living up to the reasons I became a singer in the first place?”
Maya Rudolph- B, July 27, 1972
I haven’t watched Saturday Night Live in a hot microsecond… Not even sure who the cast is anymore [not since Seth Myers did the weekend update… that ‘era’… but if Larry David is hosting, I’ll hunt down the clips to the ends of the earth!!
I love funny stuff & funny people, and Maya is a very talented chick, so SNL is privileged to have her — if she’s even still part of cast! since once anybody gets any notoriety on there, they spread their baby bird wings & soar off to the undiscovered lands of sitcoms, movies & specials. Plus, she’s half jewish! Judea in the house!! Mazel! …and Minnie Ripperton! That was her lovely mama – “Loving you, it’s easy, cuz you’re beautiful”-Minnie Ripperton, squeaky high part-Minnie Ripperton…
Anyway, that’s it – getting a bit heavy-handed with the written stuff, and I just woke up, so I’m a little cranky & disgusted with my pathetic life, and in my mind, I’m eyeing my super-ripe bananas & persimmons [rock-solid in the freezer] coconut water, a little cinnamon & some unsweetened vanilla Spirutein – SMOOTHIEEEEEE!!!! lataz…
“Most of my life I didn’t feel very normal. There’s definitely been some moments where I feel like, all right, I’ve finally graduated and I’m a normal lady.”
Editor’s note:We here at loosehandlebars LOVE Ms Rudolph’s work (& her mother’s too). We are prepared to overlook any number of movies about Bridesmaids because of Maya’s starring role in the great comedy/documentary of modern American society “Idiocracy”.
Hatshepsut, c. 1508 BCE–c. 1458 BCE
SCANDALOUS! Picture this: 18th Dynasty, ancient Egypt — so what do you do when your father, the king, dies, and you’re forced to marry your half-brother, then this obnoxious dimwit half-brother goes and knocks up one of his courtesans, and the product of that unholy union, barely finishing up potty training, ends up being king when this same half-brother kicks the bucket [and you know this fool was in a compromising position at the time]what do you do?? well… YOU RULE EGYPT, OF COURSE! Hatshepsut was my favorite! What a life! In ancient Egypt, while a female pharaoh was rare, it wasn’t unheard of. Hatshepsut was actually the third such, and there were a couple more after her, including Cleopatra & we know how all that ended… [cue the Debbie Downer music]
The title of ‘Regent’ was normally given in a case like this, but not for Hatshepsut, ‘Pharaoh’ was what she wanted and what she was. In fact, after Thutmose III came of age, she didn’t give it up. Why should she? Egypt flourished & prospered during her 21 year rule. There was actually more to her staying in power – that royal family was pretty diabolical, and there was a theory that her strategy was to actually secure the seat for Thutmose III so that nobody else would take it.
There was more intrigue in Hatshepsut’s life, a rumored affair with her chief architect, and even at her death, as her team feared desecration of her remains at her mortuary temple in Deir el Bahri, they ended up hiding her body at a different burial site! After her death, a most-likely ill-advised & hot headed Thutmose III had her statues torn down, monuments defaced & her name removed from the records. Up to 2007 with the presentation of a missing tooth, finally a confirmation, there had been much speculation & arguments as to who this particular discovered mummy was, as she wasn’t where she was supposed to be… SCANDALOUS I say! One thing remains however, Hatshepsut was one of the best Pharaohs, male or female, ever to rule Egypt. I’m dying to see this story turned into a big budget film! could totally envision Thandi Newton & Oded Fehr as Hatshepsut & her architect Senemut…
“I have commanded that my [titulary] abide like the mountains; when the sun shines its rays are bright upon the titulary of my majesty; my Horus is high upon the standard … forever.”