Hornes Aplenty

Last night, Mona mentioned our latest podcast — which ends with “Stormy Weather,” sung by Lena Horne. As I listened to her — Lena, I mean, not Mona, though I enjoy listening to them both! — I had a memory. Four years ago, I had a long sit-down with Marilyn Horne (the great mezzo-soprano). I wrote it up in a “Horne-a-palooza.” Here’s an excerpt, for those interested:

She has admired many a pop or jazz singer, but I ask who really did it for her: Ella, Sarah, Peggy? “Lena,” she says — her fellow Horne. “Oh, my God. Did you ever hear her one-woman show on Broadway?” (I’m afraid I did not.) “Oh, my God, that was one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard.” She also remembers a concert Lena did with Harry Belafonte in Las Vegas. “It was one of the greatest evenings I have ever spent: two consummate artists. I have memories of that like I do of hearing Joan Sutherland for the first time.”

I ask, “Were you and Lena ever confused for each other?” Oh, yes. “One of my closest friends went to a recital of mine, and the woman sitting behind her said, ‘But I thought we were going to hear Lena Horne!’” (I’m sure the lady got a hard-to-forget recital.)

Marilyn Horne and Lena Horne became good friends — and Lena would tell her, “We’re sistahs under the skin.” This leads me to tell her about Rachel Noerdlinger, who is press secretary to Al Sharpton. She calls me Brother Jay, and I call her Sister Rachel.

Rachel has an “e” in her last name that I do not. Marilyn Horne’s father added an “e” to their name — it was Horn. And “that little ‘e,’” says Marilyn, “gave me a bond with Lena.”

Most Popular

Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More