Archive for November 28th, 2021

I’m Still Here

GC Myers- Light Exaltation sm

Light Exaltation— Coming to the Principle Gallery

I’ve run the gamut, A to Z
Three cheers and dammit, C’est la vie
I got through all of last year, and I’m here
Lord knows, at least I was there, and I’m here
Look who’s here, I’m still here

— Stephen Sondheim, I’m Still Here, Follies

Another new piece headed to the Principle Gallery for their annual Small Works show, opening this coming Friday, December 4. This painting is titled Light Exaltation but it could well be called I’m Still Here, which is this week’s pick for Sunday Morning music.

As you may know, Stephen Sondheim, the legendary composer and lyricist, died this week at the age of 91. This song, I’m Still Here, might be my favorite of his many great songs.

The song is from his 1971 show Follies, which is about a reunion of a group of former showgirls in the old theater, scheduled for demolition, where they once performed in the 1920’s and 30’s as part of the Weismann’s Follies.

Many great songs in this show but I’m Still Here really stands out for me. There’s something in its themes of endurance and almost defiant persistence through a life filled with highs and lows that really strikes a chord with me. It’s like: you hit me with everything you’ve got and I am still standing.

Though Sondheim based much of this song on the long and enduring career of Joan Crawford, I thinkĀ  the 60+ year career of Elaine Stritch makes her a perfect match for this song. There are lots of more polished versions out there but this performance just kills me every time I hear it. The humor is spot on and her gruff, defiant attitude jumps off the stage.

In our lives, we all have many high and low points and it takes a toll. We all get beaten up a bit. I think we need that bit of defiance and ability to laugh at it all, both the highs and the lows. The song’s last verse, shown at the top, could have been wrote for this very moment.

Glad you’re all still here…

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