It was winter, 1971, my last semester as a philosophy major at Bucknell University. Studying Plato, Kant, Sartre and company had been invaluable for its own sake; that it had taught me to think critically and act decisively was a bonus.
It was a suit and tie kind of night -- and not just for the soulful k.d. lang who made her Broadway debut as the new guest star in After Midnight. The evening was the type of party Carrie Bradshaw would attend -- if Carrie Bradshaw went to theater premieres.
To hear Tony Bennett sing in person is to be transported; to be connected with a golden era of music that dances ever further from reach with each passing year. They don't write songs like that anymore, and they don't make folks like Tony Bennett to sing them, either.
After all, music soothes the savage beast. And there's plenty of wild legislators roaming the government corridors that could use some calming down. Jazz dudes may have found the elixir: jazz is Xanadu minus the Xanax.
The arts teach empathy. The arts express and evoke emotion, enabling us to feel how others feel and find common ground. The arts help eliminate prejudice by encouraging multiple perspectives. And of course, the arts can be fun!
When "reformers'" tip the scales in order to help their allied schools, that is bad enough. The real scandal is their growing willingness to use dubious metrics to punish poor schools and their students in order to defeat political enemies.
On this Fourth of July, let our passion for the music continue with this yearly celebration of these communicators, those who have been and continue to be so instrumental in bringing us this music we love so much.
When it is harder to obtain a library card than it is to buy a gun in this country, something is terribly wrong. I mean, would you let your neighbor drive 100 miles an hour in their car through your children's school zone?