Monday, December 31, 2012

Alec Baldwin

Can you imagine the film, It's Complicated, without Alec Baldwin? Even with Meryl Streep and Steve Martin, that movie has no legs without him. And who can forget his hotel room cameo in Notting Hill, where he steals the scene from Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant? Do you remember which company he's hawking on those brilliant advertisements for a credit card company? Such is the immediacy of his character. A feature article in The New Yorker has been trending as one of the magazine's most frequently viewed in the last several years.

Until recently, Baldwin's musical taste was that of a typical baby boomer, predictably leaning towards the Beatles, Stones, Hendrix, Peter Frampton et al. And then one day, he heard Mahler's Ninth Symphony, and was hooked.

The New York Philharmonic recently installed him as its radio announcer, a job he says is the best he's ever had. (His first love, before film and television, is the stage; I wouldn't doubt it, having seen him perform memorably in Glengarry Glen Ross at Trinity Repertory Theatre thirty years ago.)

Guess what: Alec Baldwin gave a million dollars to the New York Philharmonic this year. I was already a fan; now my praise of him borders on worship.

Might the Vienna Philharmonic ever dare to ask him host their annual New Year's Eve concert? Wouldn't you love to see Alec Baldwin liven up that staid affair?

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