Saturday, December 19, 2009

Remember My Name



"Sometimes I wonder where I've been ... 
Who I am,
Do I fit in.
I may not win,
But I can't be thrown - 
Out here on my own."
Dean Pitchford

DAY 71: The holidays are not a particularly happy time for me, in fact, they often make me feel more than a bit lonely ... and finding something positive is often quite difficult.  Fortunately, on my way to a Christmas party tonight with my wonderful Math colleagues, I put on my newest CD ... the original movie soundtrack to the 1980 film, Fame.  My well-worn vinyl LP has been sitting dusty in my closet (with HUNDREDS of other now nearly-useless LPs), and I've never gotten around to replacing it.  I belong to an online Sondheim bulletin board and my online friends (many of whom I've had the pleasure to meet in person over the years) have an annual "Secret Sondheim" gift exchange across the miles.  My gift this year (from WALES!) contained this CD.

Fame was a defining movie for me, though to put that "definition" into words isn't easy.  The movie was released during my sophomore-to-junior years of college, a time when I was really starting to explore and understand who I was (which still continues to this day).  It's a story of students discovering their talent, being individuals, and taking risks.  It was also the first movie I had seen with a young male character who JUST HAPPENED to be gay ... an ordinary looking, soft-spoken, unassuming, AVERAGE but lonely young man.  It's also kind of ironic, and perhaps a bit of destiny, that I now teach in a school not unlike the High School of Performing Arts in NYC.

And WHAT a score ... "Out Here On My Own" continues to be one of my all-time favorite songs (as sung by Irene Cara, of course) - it still breaks my heart every time I listen to it.  That infectious title track ... it's pretty unbeatable.  I've also had a blast revisiting the upbeat-dance-on-lunch-tables-and-taxi-cabs "Hot Lunch Jam," "Red Light," and the joyous Gospel chorus of "Never Alone."  It's topped by the finale, "I Sing the Body Electric," featuring words by one of my favorite poets, Walt Whitman, and it's even been the ring tone on my cell phone!  What touches me the most, though, are the songs sung by the gay character I mentioned earlier (played by Paul McCrane) - "Dogs in the Yard," "Is It OK If I Call You Mine?" (a song that can bring me to tears ... I've copied the lyrics below), and now a previously unreleased track from the film (on this remastered CD) called "Miles from Here" whose lyrics are just beautiful.  I don't remember it from the original film, but it's certain to become a new favorite.

Which reminds me ... I don't even have the film on DVD.  I'm going to buy it or order it online TOMORROW!!

Is it okay if I call you mine?
Just for a time ... 
And I will be just fine
If I know that you know that I'm
Wanting, needing your love. 

If I ask of you, is it all right.
If I ask you to hold me tight
Through a cold, dark night.
'Cause there may be a cloudy day in sight
And I need to let you know that I might
Be needing your love.

And what I'm trying to say isn't really new.
It's just the things that happen to me
When I'm reminded of you.

Like when I hear your name,
Or see a place that you've been,
Or see a picture of your grin,
Or pass a house that you've been in
At one time or another.

It sets off something in me I can't explain.
And I can't wait to see you again.
Oh, babe, I love your love

And what I'm trying to say isn't really new ... 
It's just the things that happen to me,
When I'm reminded of you.

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