This Week's Guest: Ryan O'Connor
We all have our sources of security -- it could be a career, a home, a relationship, a circle of friends. How would you handle the loss of all of those things? This week's guest is Ryan O'Connor, co-host of the outstanding LadyWatch podcast. A few years back, Ryan was pretty sure all of his goals were coming together like a tidy checklist. And then, one by one, they all fell apart, and he discovered that when you lose everything you have, you find out who you are.
This Week's Recommendation: Red Ladies
Thanks again to Ryan for joining me. Don't forget to subscribe to his show, Ladywatch, which he co-hosts with the delightful Jason Powell. It's a celebration of the amazing work of women, and I learn so much from every single episode. You can also support them on Patreon, where 10% of the proceeds go to The Geena Davis Institute On Gender In Media.
For another master class on feminine power, my recommendation this week is that you go to YouTube and search for Red Ladies Sondheim. You'll find a playlist of videos from Steven Sondheim's 2010 birthday concert, including a show-stopping series of songs from women in red dresses. There's Audra McDonald singing The Glamorous Life; Patti LuPone is a lady who lunches, Bernadette sings Not a Day Goes By, and Elaine Stritch grabs I'm Still Here by the throat and throttles it into submission.
There is a full range of emotions across these performances -- some are sad and slow, others upbeat, others wry. Though the occasion was Steven Sondheim's birthday, the performances are more a workship of the performers than the songwriter. Himself a gay man, I'm sure Sondheim appreciates the pricelessness of a diva, and to have seven arrayed on stage is the greatest birthday gift anyone could ask for.
And while the songs were written by a man, what's remarkable about these performances is just how much authorship is contributed by the women. They're not just singing the words on the page and hitting the notes. They're inhabiting the songs, adding to the story with this faces, with their breaths, with the places they chose to pause or add a sarcastic roll of the eyes. These women all have as much to say as, if not more than, the composition. And in this performance, it's impossible not to listen.
Clips of Stuff we Talked About
Parisian Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0