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post #298
bio: jen

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Leonard Bernstein

Jen, I rented ‘Death At A Funeral’ and thought of you. A guy I know told me yesterday. I wasn’t sure if I should be honored or worried.

I started watching it, but I didn’t think it was that funny. He went on to say. I went on to learn that he hadn’t reached the bathroom poop scene yet, so I still held out hope that he would laugh his ass while watching Death at a Funeral.

Still, it’s weird what things get us thinking about other things. Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ has been going around in my head for the last few days. I think I heard it in the background at some point in my travels.

Anyway, probably the lyric ‘LEONARD BERNSTEIN’ got me thinking about Leonard Bernstein, and one day I found myself thinking about something from my childhood.

I was twelve or maybe thirteen, and we were all living in a suburb of Cleveland. One day, my mother exclaimed:

‘Leonard Bernstein was at a party at a house two blocks away last night!’

My mother didn’t go to the party. I think she heard about it from the gaggle of catholic school mothers. My mother was obviously very excited by this. I didn’t know why this was so significant. In my mother’s eyes, he was the great maestro, the great composer, and he was so close yet so far away.

My mother has always been fascinated by people making art---the grande artiste. She believes the myth of the excitement of creating something in montage to a thrilling soundtrack---and who better to provide the thrilling soundtrack than Leonard Bernstein.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that the whole creative process thing is not at all like those documentaries on PBS or those movies that win Academy Awards. To me, it’s almost casual and a little boring.

However, Bernstein made it glamorous. He was a showman with his wild white hair. Who else could conduct Ode to Joy when the Berlin Wall came down? And the Prologue from West Side Story kicks ass.

Years later, when I lived in New York, I worked in a building not far from Bernstein’s office, but I never saw him. He never came into my field of vision. Was he really at that house party two blocks away? Could be. Who knows.

To learn more about Leonard Bernstein, you can visit his official website,

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