Monday, March 3, 2008

THE LUCKY AND THE STRONG: When I read this morning about the opening of Bette Midler's Las Vegas residency, it occurred to me that there's a word that's increasingly absent from our popular culture: entertainer.

Not that long ago, America was replete with those who could sing, tell jokes, dance ... folks who were so eager to please that they would do whatever it took on a stage to blow away a crowd. I'm thinking of Sammy Davis Jr. in particular as an exemplar of this tradition (Liza Minnelli and Peter Allen too) and Martin Short as a ersatz version ... there's a certain ethos and group of talents that I'm not quite describing right, but I feel like the Divine Miss M and her brand of vulgarity, sass and talent are a perfect fit for Las Vegas. Long may she reign.

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