fangirling about sonny and cher (+ a recipe)

“Believe in magic and it’ll happen.” ~ Sonny Bono

Don’t you love how we all have unique soundtracks to our lives?

Hear a certain song and it instantly takes you back — right there, feeling all the feels . . .

They say we’re young and we don’t know
We won’t find out until we grow.
Well I don’t know if all that’s true
‘Cause you got me and baby I got you
I got you babe
I got you babe

The year is 1965, a very good year for popular music. The Stones sought “Satisfaction,” Dylan confronted us with “Like a Rolling Stone,” the Temptations crooned about “My Girl,” Pet Clark hung out “Downtown,” the Beatles played Shea Stadium, and Arlo Guthrie got arrested for littering.

My friends and I lived and breathed music, poring over the pages of Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, saving our money for albums and concert tickets, daydreaming about meeting our many idols. Long hair and guitars? Yes, please. British accents? Triple yes. We instantly became rabid fans. So many cute rockers, so little time. ūüôā

And then there was Sonny and Cher.  Never dreamed we’d fall so hard for such an oddly dressed couple. Sure, there were other singing duos we loved (Chad and Jeremy, Peter and Gordon come to mind) — but these two were so different, clearly smitten with one another, and their chemistry on stage had us clutching our hearts, yearning for that same brand of pure, perfect love.

We tried to emulate fashion icon Cher, with her gorgeous long black hair, Cleopatra eye make-up, bell bottom outfits and flashy gem stone rings. Sonny was adorable and fun-loving in his bobcat vest and Caesar haircut, exuding a certain paisano charm and friendliness.

Their signature song, “I Got You Babe,” released in July 1965, shot to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, selling over a million copies in the U.S., while also hitting #1 in the UK and Canada. Once their first studio album, Look at Us, came out in August, there was no stopping them and they were everywhere, touring and appearing on popular TV shows like “Shindig,” “Hollywood Palace,” “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “American Bandstand,” and “Hullabaloo.”

Some say “I Got You Babe” was inspired by Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe.” In any case, Cher had a solo hit with Dylan’s “All I Really Wanna Do.”

And we watched them all, and listened to their music constantly. When we heard they were coming to Hawai’i for a concert in December, we were ecstatic.

Continue reading

a little luigi benedicenti to sweeten your week

Today, for your feasting pleasure, the amazing oil paintings — yes, paintings (!) of Italian artist Luigi Benedicenti (1948-2015).

They can’t be paintings, they must be photographs, you say. I’m still in disbelief myself. Even if they were photographs, they would be awesome — but paintings? Truly incredible!

A native of Turin, Benedicenti developed his own style of “realismo extremo,” or hyper photo-realism, featuring Italian pastries as his primary subject.

Apparently the pastries were made by professional bakers, but he did not consume them after taking reference photos because he had diabetes. I imagine his family and friends were only too willing to help him “take care of” the pastries when he was through with them. ūüôā

Continue reading

friday feast: a taste of tuscany

“The passion of the Italian or the Italian-American population is endless for food and lore and everything about it. ” ~ Mario Batali

“Tuscany Delights” painting by Lisa Lorenz.

Buon Giorno! Come sta?

Are you in the mood for la cucina italiano? *kisses fingertips* 

Recently, I heard about a new molto delizioso book at¬†Diane Lockward’s blog —¬†The Poet’s Cookbook: Recipes from Tuscany by Grace Cavalieri and Sabine Pascarelli (Bordighera Press, 2009).¬†Scrumptious food served with provocative poems (with their Italian translations no less)!¬†What more¬†does one need in this¬†life?

This tasty little collection is almost as good as taking an Italian lover. Not¬†that I¬†would know about that sort of thing. *cough* ‚ėļ¬†But I do have a fertile imagination, a lust for fine poetry, and an eager palate-in-training. Cavalieri and¬†Pascarelli¬†contributed their favorite¬†recipes, those “that were once purely¬†Italian and are now¬†Italo-American”¬†— Appetizers, Soups, First Course,¬†Second Course, Vegetables, Salads, Desserts –while¬†28 of their¬†Italian and American friends provided the poems.¬†Like any good feast, the fare teases the taste buds with spicy, savory, pungent, sweet, sour, and salty — all the flavors and emotions that constitute the best food for thought.

Continue reading