Oprah Winfrey, choreographer (and much more) Bill T. Jones, Broadway composer Jerry Herman, plus Merle Haggard and Paul McCartney, lit up the tube for two hours.
It was the Haggard section that might have had the most touching moments, although I dug them all, and it was wonderful to witness that side of creative people you don't see that often: their humility. Hag, like the others, was really moved by the tribute ("I don't think I'd like the nickame 'Hag,' " said Gina).
I'd read that at least two pokes at Sarah Palin were cut out of the broadcast, which was taped in early December; how can you take something like that away from Chris Rock (who was one of the presenters during Oprah's segment)? Isn't this ceremony supposed to be about celebrating art, comedic art included?
But it was all good, and I didn't think Steven Tyler was embarrassing at all--he sang the last section of Abbey Road--as some bloggers attested. Excellence abounded, and getting to watch Kenny Aranoff drumming with the big band all night is always a treat.
Two of my own goofy qualities/obsessions to note: I sent an email to the Kennedy Center Honors site because they use the incorrect "70's," rather than " '70s" on their website when noting different decades. As I keep pointing out to anyone who will listen,
if you spell out "Seventies," it's not "Seventie's," right? English 101. The apostrophe
at the beginning of " '70s" is there to take the place of the "19."
Another dumb quality I have: Obsessive memory. I will never forget today's date (Dec. 29) in 1965: It's the day I got the Rubber Soul album, which is so much better than some of the more overblown Beatles releases, especially that one from 1967. Perhaps I only remember 12/29/65 so well (I also remember my dog Soxie's death, 1/13/66) because like a fool, I wrote it on the back of the Rubber Soul cover. Anyway, my Mom was mad at me for pestering her to get the LP (I was 10 at the time), when I'd already had a good Christmas--my Dad was making good money then after some years of struggling. But Mom gave in; there were other areas where she was far more stubborn.