Even if you live far away from Boston or weren’t able to attend the First Night festivities today, which includes multiple shows by the Post Meridian Radio Players, it appears that they will be releasing a recording of the event in 2009, which includes “The Chicken Heart,” Arch Oboler’s infamous radio play reenacted, as well as another installment of their original series, “Red Shift: Interplanetary Do-Gooder”! Find out more at their website.
Homebodies and those of us with colds (cough! cough!) can also look for Dick Clark to make an appearance on ABC tonight. Talk about inspiring, when 2008 has been so dismal for so many. Linda Lowen of About.com has asked the obvious question of where the female New Year’s Eve hosts are. Apparently I’m not the only person who feels Ryan Seacrest and Carson Daly lack the special oomph of Clark and Guy Lombardo. Meanwhile, CNN is having Kathy Griffin of “D-List” fame cohosting with Anderson Cooper (Miley Cyrus is hosting for tweens, elsewhere). Griffin’s humor is a bit abrasive for New Year’s — wouldn’t it be great to ring in the year with someone whose lovability index is more Betty White than Bette Midler (in her brassy “The Rose” and “Ruthless People” heyday)? How about Nicole Sullivan, best known for “MadTV” and now starring on a Lifetime sitcom, or Caroline Rhea, who hosted “The Biggest Loser” before having her first child. Rhea, also a funny comedienne, has recently hosted Game Show Network specials.
In the last weeks of 2008, we’ve lost several pivotal, classic celebrities and other artists, such as playwright Harold Pinter. But Eartha Kitt, an interracial singer and actress who was born into a poor sharecropper family, then abandoned by her mother and stepfather, had one of the most inspiring lives of them all. She rose to stardom while Jim Crow laws were still active, part of a new generation of performers like Dorothy Dandridge that were stamping out the color lines, considered viable sex symbols and songbirds by all kinds of audiences. She remained vital and opinionated, and refused to back down when her comments about Vietnam got her in hot water with the LBJ White House – even when it meant performing in Europe only for the next decade. A lovely lady who was not just a diva, but tough – she offers some intriguing lessons for living, as 2009 appears to be a tough year for many of us. In addition to the more traditional obituaries, the Washington Post has a fun remembrance of Kitt by Will Haygood.