June 27, 2014

Let's Take a Break: Aging Ladies Day on the Blog

Every now and then, I need a break from pontificating and you no doubt need one, too. So I keep a bank of videos, photos, and miscellany I can dip into for our escape.

Today it's ladies day. Except for the first photo, we celebrate amazing aging ladies.

Here's a seldom-seen photo of Red Cross nurses arriving at Normandy Beach in 1944:


I love this video by country music singer Donnalou Stevens:



Melissa Etheridge – bald and proud – in her first live appearance after battling breast cancer. This shot stands as one of the most compelling tributes to people who've battled chemo and come back:


At a signing for Hard Choices, Hillary Clinton looks up and sees Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor:


A Ladies Day post wouldn't be complete without Elaine Stritch singing "Ladies Who Lunch," which she performed at the 1970 opening of Stephen Sondheim's Company. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a video going back that far. Her delivery in later years may have lacked the vocal perfection of earlier years, but showed more of her feisty spirit.

She's retired last year at age 88. One of her last public performances was at the White House, where she forgot the lyrics but soldiered on. Then she delighted the crowd by declaring she wanted to get drunk with the Obamas.

In announcing her retirement during a moving cabaret show, Stritch -- ailing for years -- said, "Every time I leave the building, I fall on my ass." When she mentioned having suffered a couple of bad falls, audience members gave the obligatory "awwww." She shouted them down saying "Don't you feel sorry for me. Don't you dare feel sorry for me!"

This clip shows how she struggled with the song in her later years. Here she's working on a recording of Company as Stephen Sondheim and friends get more frustrated:


She then comes through with this amazing performance:


And now for the grand finale on old broads:


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