35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors

The television program I always watch between Christmas and New Years is the Kennedy Center Honors; it is generally quite entertaining. “The Honors recipients [are] recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts-whether in music, dance, theater, opera, motion pictures, or television…” The event took place on Sunday, December 2. Gala will be broadcast on CBS on December 26, 2012 at 9:00-11:00 p.m., ET/PT.

The awardees this year are Buddy Guy, Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman, Natalia Makarova, and Led Zeppelin.

I admit not knowing much about ballerina/choreographer Natalia Makarova.

The selection of talk show host David Letterman really surprised me. I like him well enough, but his gift just didn’t seem to be at the level of many of the past selections. Maybe it’s that it seems premature; in another decade. Maybe.

Historically, the choices tend to be people such Buddy Guy, who is a blues pioneer. He has “been a tremendous influence on virtually everyone who’s picked up an electric guitar in the last half century, including [Eric] Clapton, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Slash, ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and John Mayer.” Here he is playing Sweet Home Chicago. I have only two or three of his albums.

Speaking of Jimmy Page, I have a LOT of albums from Led Zeppelin: the first four albums, and some others, on vinyl; a box set on CD. Additionally, I have four or five solo albums by Robert Plant, his duos with Page and with Alison Krauss, and even a cassette of Plant’s group The Honeydrippers.

It’s Dustin Hoffman, though, who, like Buddy Guy, is the archetypical selection. LONG career with a lot of success. Hoffman movies I’ve seen:
The Graduate, 1967 – the only one I saw on video, and only in the last four years; I’ve owned the soundtrack for decades.
Midnight Cowboy, 1969 – I saw this four times in the first year or so after its release. Has one of my favorite quotes: “I’m WALKING here!”
Lenny, 1974 – much of what I first knew of Lenny Bruce, i learned from this
All the President’s Men, 1976 – the Watergate film which gave me hope about a free press, since dissipated
Kramer vs. Kramer, 1979 – the first “divorce movie” I recall
Tootsie, 1982 – apparently, Hoffman was a PITA making this film, which he poured into the Michael (pre-Tootsie)character
Death of a Salesman (TV movie), 1985 – first version of this I ever saw
Rain Man, 1988 – possibly Tom cruise’s best role, plus a great soundtrack
Wag the Dog, 1997 – a faux war made plausible
Finding Neverland, 2004
I Heart Huckabees, 2004 – did not love this
Meet the Fockers, 2004
Stranger Than Fiction, 2006 – definitely the best film I’ve seen that Will Farrell made

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4 thoughts on “35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors

  1. Interesting how life seems to interconnect. I’m not one for awards shows but I was watching a gig with Muddy Waters Mick Jagger and Buddy Guy on TV the other night. That in mind if I could only have one DVD on a desert island it would have to be “Blues Brothers 2000”.

    Did you forget Hoffmans’s “Little Big man” or not see it?

  2. I thought “Little Big Man” was Dustin Hoffman’s best movie, he played a western hero who survived the fight at Little big horn.

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