Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Hot Diggity Dog Ziggity Boom

Friday and Saturday this week, the 27th and 28th of August, the San Diego Symphony Summer Pops series is hosting singer Michael Feinstein in concert under the banner of “The Sinatra Project.” I’m not sure why this struck me, 12 years after the death of Old Blue Eyes, aka the Chairman of the Board. Possibly it was my long association with San Diego’s own Jose Sinatra. I certainly never bought any of Frank’s records. I didn’t have to; my uncle George had everything the guy (whom band leader Harry James almost billed as Frankie Satin) recorded, at least up until 1966. The only thing George loved more than Frank Sinatra was Seagram’s V.O. whiskey.

I always kind of associated Sinatra with my uncle and highballs or whiskey and ice. The first time I ordered a drink in a bar when I was 16, I asked for “a scotch and bourbon on the rocks” and thought I was suave and urbane. Years later, as a bartender, I was to curse Sinatra’s name for that song that goes, “It’s quarter to three. There’s no one in the place except you and me.” Every lonely loser on Manhattan’s West Side would quote it to me after 2 a.m. as a prelude to their life story and/or romantic woes. But something about the phrase “The Sinatra Project” triggered a mental note I had made when I read somewhere that New York writer Pete Hamill (who never, as far as I know, penned a dull sentence) wrote a book called Why Sinatra Matters. I wanted to know, all right. Please, Pete, tell me why.

What Hamill had to say, in part, “In the end, it is of minor interest that Lord Byron swam the Hellespont, that Andre Malraux flew in combat during the Spanish Civil War, or that Ernest Hemingway shot lions in Africa. In the end, only the work matters. Sinatra’s finest work was making music.

“Sinatra, however, did matter in other ways. He wasn’t simply an entertainer from a specific time and place in American life.... Through a combination of artistic originality, great passion, and immense will, he transcended several eras and indirectly helped change the way all of us lived. He was formed by an America that is long gone: the country of the European immigrants and the virulent America-for-Americans nativism that was directed at them; the country in which a mindless Puritanism allied with that scapegoating nativism, imposed Prohibition upon the land and helped create the mob…a country that passed through the Depression and war into the uncertain realities of peace. They were extraordinary times, and in his own way, driven by his own confusions, neuroses, angers, and ambitions, Frank Sinatra helped push the country forward.”

Since you put it that way, Pete…

I have never heard nor heard of Michael Feinstein (which means nothing), yet he has numerous CDs listed online, including Big City Rhythms, Forever, Isn’t It Romantic?, and The Sinatra Project. On this last mentioned disc, Feinstein performs “Exactly Like You,” “The Song Is You,” “Begin the Beguine,” and “At Long Last Love,” all of them staples of the skinny singer from Hoboken, New Jersey.

It is unlikely that I will be attending Feinstein’s concert, but that and having read Hamill’s book may well be an inspiration to listen again to albums like In the Wee Small Hours with an ear cocked toward history.

“Frank Sinatra was part of a generation that could not remember a time when there was neither a radio nor a phonograph in the house; by the time of his first communion, he was listening to the music of America.” (Pete Hamill)

And so was I, by the mid 1950s, listening to “Honeycomb” and Perry Como singing, “Hot diggity dog ziggity boom what you do to me, on a Saturday night.” And then Elvis Presley, who inspired my five-year-old dance routine on top of the kitchen table for an audience of first-generation Italian-American grownup relatives. Ten years later I was burning incense and listening to Jimi Hendrix on vinyl when my father opens my bedroom door, sniffs jasmine or something, and says, “I don’t feel anything,” before closing the door again.

I can’t end a column on Sinatra without returning to our own Jose of the same name — singer and Troubadour columnist (in the tradition of Frank, who at least once punched out a columnist, Jose may have to one day punch himself out). Along with alerting you to the Feinstein show and recommending a good read by Hamill, I must also urge Jose Sinatra to revive his version of “I get no kick from cocaine…With just one whiff it can make me a dick.”

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Henry Silva’s golden years

“Would you buy a used car from this son-of-a-gun?”
Next Article

Finding a different world inside Samarkand Uzbek Café

Don’t miss this overachieving tent restaurant tucked away in a City Heights parking lot

Friday and Saturday this week, the 27th and 28th of August, the San Diego Symphony Summer Pops series is hosting singer Michael Feinstein in concert under the banner of “The Sinatra Project.” I’m not sure why this struck me, 12 years after the death of Old Blue Eyes, aka the Chairman of the Board. Possibly it was my long association with San Diego’s own Jose Sinatra. I certainly never bought any of Frank’s records. I didn’t have to; my uncle George had everything the guy (whom band leader Harry James almost billed as Frankie Satin) recorded, at least up until 1966. The only thing George loved more than Frank Sinatra was Seagram’s V.O. whiskey.

I always kind of associated Sinatra with my uncle and highballs or whiskey and ice. The first time I ordered a drink in a bar when I was 16, I asked for “a scotch and bourbon on the rocks” and thought I was suave and urbane. Years later, as a bartender, I was to curse Sinatra’s name for that song that goes, “It’s quarter to three. There’s no one in the place except you and me.” Every lonely loser on Manhattan’s West Side would quote it to me after 2 a.m. as a prelude to their life story and/or romantic woes. But something about the phrase “The Sinatra Project” triggered a mental note I had made when I read somewhere that New York writer Pete Hamill (who never, as far as I know, penned a dull sentence) wrote a book called Why Sinatra Matters. I wanted to know, all right. Please, Pete, tell me why.

What Hamill had to say, in part, “In the end, it is of minor interest that Lord Byron swam the Hellespont, that Andre Malraux flew in combat during the Spanish Civil War, or that Ernest Hemingway shot lions in Africa. In the end, only the work matters. Sinatra’s finest work was making music.

“Sinatra, however, did matter in other ways. He wasn’t simply an entertainer from a specific time and place in American life.... Through a combination of artistic originality, great passion, and immense will, he transcended several eras and indirectly helped change the way all of us lived. He was formed by an America that is long gone: the country of the European immigrants and the virulent America-for-Americans nativism that was directed at them; the country in which a mindless Puritanism allied with that scapegoating nativism, imposed Prohibition upon the land and helped create the mob…a country that passed through the Depression and war into the uncertain realities of peace. They were extraordinary times, and in his own way, driven by his own confusions, neuroses, angers, and ambitions, Frank Sinatra helped push the country forward.”

Since you put it that way, Pete…

I have never heard nor heard of Michael Feinstein (which means nothing), yet he has numerous CDs listed online, including Big City Rhythms, Forever, Isn’t It Romantic?, and The Sinatra Project. On this last mentioned disc, Feinstein performs “Exactly Like You,” “The Song Is You,” “Begin the Beguine,” and “At Long Last Love,” all of them staples of the skinny singer from Hoboken, New Jersey.

It is unlikely that I will be attending Feinstein’s concert, but that and having read Hamill’s book may well be an inspiration to listen again to albums like In the Wee Small Hours with an ear cocked toward history.

“Frank Sinatra was part of a generation that could not remember a time when there was neither a radio nor a phonograph in the house; by the time of his first communion, he was listening to the music of America.” (Pete Hamill)

And so was I, by the mid 1950s, listening to “Honeycomb” and Perry Como singing, “Hot diggity dog ziggity boom what you do to me, on a Saturday night.” And then Elvis Presley, who inspired my five-year-old dance routine on top of the kitchen table for an audience of first-generation Italian-American grownup relatives. Ten years later I was burning incense and listening to Jimi Hendrix on vinyl when my father opens my bedroom door, sniffs jasmine or something, and says, “I don’t feel anything,” before closing the door again.

I can’t end a column on Sinatra without returning to our own Jose of the same name — singer and Troubadour columnist (in the tradition of Frank, who at least once punched out a columnist, Jose may have to one day punch himself out). Along with alerting you to the Feinstein show and recommending a good read by Hamill, I must also urge Jose Sinatra to revive his version of “I get no kick from cocaine…With just one whiff it can make me a dick.”

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Oktoberfest beers to drink at home

Pick up a stein, or have this year’s märzen delivered
Next Article

The Golf Bar: Bratwurst and ball whacking

“This is the first golf bar in San Diego.”
Comments
1

Jose has already punched Himself(sic) out, dozens of times.

Aug. 25, 2010

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close