Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

My Christmas giving knows no bounds.

More Christmas cheer from me to you. It's a tad long, but it's worth it...oh, and it's not what you think it is at first. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tony's Christmas Wishes

I'm sure most people have seen this by now, but in case you haven't, I now present you my new favorite Christmas song. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Tony's Book Review Corner

White Christmas: The Story of an American Song

By Jody Rosen

It’s a song that plucks the deepest and most heartfelt feelings in all of us, and it’s a song that became the anthem of fighting men overseas and a nation at war. The song is White Christmas by Irving Berlin and in his book, White Christmas: The Story of an American Song author Jody Rosen recounts the elements involved in the song’s birth.

From Russia where Berlin was born to the streets of early 20th century New York and the Tin Pan Alley song hucksters who made their living riding the latest gossip for inspiration, Rosen details Berlin as an insomniac gripped by a fever to create hits. Whereas his contemporaries (the Gershwins, Rodgers and Hart, Cole Porter) were looking for the muse with which to create art, Berlin felt he was only as good as his last big hit. After an already successful career of film and musical hits (not the least of which was God Bless America) Berlin created White Christmas as a novelty song, with its original first verse describing a Beverly Hills well-to-do pining for a Christmas “like the ones I used to know.” After World War II started, the song took on another life as the unofficial anthem of the war, hoisted into that lofty position not by radio, record companies or even Bing Crosby himself, but by G.I’s longing to reconnect with a place and a time that not only embodied home, but freedom as well.

Rosen has created a beautiful synthesis of musical, social and racial histories with this book in that he not only tells of the song’s creation, but sets this creation with a backdrop of the Depression and a world at war all the while detailing the changes in meaning for the song, the changes in American society and the correlation between a song drenched in Christmas spirit being written by an immigrant Jew. A song first of folly became an American legend that has brought generations back again and again to the simple Depression-era nostalgia for a life of easier times. Through war time and peace one little song either comforted the listener or became such anathema combining into glaring cruelty the commercialization of Christmas vs. the homespun feelings the song describes.

Be it fan of the song, the songwriter, the holiday or fan of musical history in general, you won’t go wrong in picking up this book.