Brain Overload

Research for the Luther Henderson biography is in high gear. In addition to my trip to the Juilliard School of Music archives last week, during the last ten days I have conducted more than 30 hours of interviews with 12 people:

    Andr̩ De Shields Рactor
    Mercedes Ellington choeographer and grandaughter of Duke Ellington
    Duane Grant – Luther’s musical assistant and step-son
    Billie Allen Henderson, actress, director, and Luther’s widow
    Fred Howard – longtime friend of Luther’s
    Sy Johnson – arranger
    Pam Koslow Hines – co-producer of Jelly’s Last Jam
    Joe Lovano – jazz saxophonist
    Richard Maltby – writer/producer of Ain’t Misbehavin’
    Ruben Santiago-Hudson – actor
    George C Wolfe – playwrite, director, creator and diector of Jelly’s Last Jam
    Gene Watts – trombonist, Canadian Brass

My head is swimming with thoughts and ideas, leaving me little psychic or physical energy to blog. What to write? What to say? The solution came to me via About Last Night where Terry Teachout posted his answers to a questionaire someone sent him

• What time did you get up this morning? 6 AM

• Diamonds or pearls? Combo, please. My husband had a most beautiful diamond and pearl pendant made for me for my 50th birthday.

• What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Mrs. Henderson starring one of my favorite actresses, Dame Judy Dench

• What is your favorite TV show? The Medium and Grey’s Anatomy

• What did you have for breakfast? Oatmeal.

• What is your middle name? Well, now that I go by Devra Hall Levy, I guess you could say that Hall has become my middle name

• What is your favorite cuisine? French.

• What food do you dislike? Yogurt smoothies.

• What is your favorite potato chip? Sour cream and onion.

• What is your favorite CD at the moment? Carmen McRae’s I Am Music — but I’m not sure if it’s been reissued on CD.

• What kind of car do you drive? VW Passat (but I want a Prius)

• Favorite sandwich? Grilled munster cheese with tomatoes.

• What characteristics do you despise? Cruelty – physical or emotional.

• What are your favorite clothes? Depends on my mood – but whatever it is has got to be comfortable.

• If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? A villa, please, in the south of France.

• What color is your bathroom? Beige with brown, gold, maroon and blue.

• Favorite brand of clothing? I’m not into labels.

• Where would you want to retire to? I prefer warm climates, but I will never retire.

• Favorite time of day? Crépuscule.

• Where were you born? New York City.

• Favorite sport to watch? I don’t like to watch.

• Who do you least expect to send this back? I’m not going to send it to anyone.

• Who will be the first to respond? N/A

• Coke or Pepsi? I don’t drink soda (unless maybe an occassional rum and coke)

• Are you a morning person or night owl? Morning glory.

• Any new and exciting news you’d like to share with everyone? Life is grand.

• What did you want to be when you were little? I don’t remember.

• What is a favorite childhood memory? Sometimes alone, but usually with a friend, bike rides from Greenwich Village down to the Staten Island Ferry (route travelled was underneath the West Side Highway), across on the Ferry, around the island, and back home. Last May I posted some other memoir thoughts.

• What are the different jobs you have had in your life? Secretary, radio disc jockey, computer programmer, mainframe systems designer, publicist, educator and curriculum designer, vice president of corporate communications for a software company, personal manager, writer, and editor.

• Nicknames? None that I choose to share.

• Any piercings? Ears.

• Eye color? Brown.

• Ever been to Africa? No.

• Ever been toilet papering? No.

• Been in a car accident? Yes.

• Favorite day of the week? Tomorrow.

• Favorite restaurant? Pierre’s, but it no longer exists.

• Favorite flower? Don’t have a favorite.

• Favorite ice cream? Mint chocolate chip.

• Favorite fast food restaurant? KFC

• Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?

• Bedtime? Around 11:30, if I can stay awake through the news.

• Who are you most curious about their responses to this questionnaire? No one.

• Last person(s) you went to dinner with? Donna.

• What are you listening to right now? The hum of my laptop.

• What is your favorite color? Earth tones.

• How many tattoos do you have? None.

• Who was the last e-mail you got before this one? Junk mail.

• How many people are you sending this e-mail to? Posting to blog – hoping for many readers.

• What time did you finish this e-mail? Posting to blog close to 7:30 PM Eastern, 4:30 PM Pacific.