I'm Still Here
February 20, 2014 11:25 PM   Subscribe

Ex-Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker performs I'm Still Here from Stephen Sondheim's Follies in a brilliantly subtle and effective video by Todd Haynes.

This is probably the highlight of the brilliant HBO documentary Six By Sondheim.
posted by hippybear (10 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

For contrast, Elaine Stritch does a more standard performance of I'm Still Here during her brilliant one woman show At Liberty.
posted by hippybear at 11:27 PM on February 20, 2014 [4 favorites]

Wow, hippybear. I liked the Jarvis Cocker bit in the FPP. But I'm now 45 minutes into At Liberty, and vibrating with every cell of my body. Thank you so much.
posted by kandinski at 4:46 AM on February 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I always liked Pulp, but I kind of felt the best thing they could've done to improve their fortunes would be to convince Jarvis to focus more on singing, less on song-talking. This falls squarely in the latter for me.

Elaine, though, kills it.
posted by psoas at 5:23 AM on February 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

I still haven't had a chance to watch the documentary but most of the music performances are on YouTube. I really love this video and the performance from Jarvis.

I love Audra McDonald in Send In the Clowns (and the whole way this bit is done) though she's a very odd choice for this song (being a great singer and all).

I also got a kick out of seeing Sondheim in Opening Doors (in the Jason Alexander role), but I always get a kick out of that song.

I got tickets to the 2012 Encores! production as a gift. I didn't know the show myself so I started listening and kept catching myself singing bits of the show; I drove myself batty trying to not. I had to give in and give up the surprise.
posted by mountmccabe at 5:42 AM on February 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Carol Burnett, starts slow and quiet, and gets stronger and stronger.
Shirley Maclaine, with new lyrics.
Yvonne DeCarlo, who originated the song in Follies in 1971 (and, apparently, the tradition of screwing up the words in live performances).
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 7:18 AM on February 21, 2014

I really like Jarvis Cocker and thought he did this great. Who was the guy in the dress though? No, I mean the other one...
posted by From Bklyn at 10:10 AM on February 21, 2014

this is doing something different, constructing sondheim w/i a cabaret tradition, and so cannot really be compared to stritch et all. its brilliant.
posted by PinkMoose at 2:00 PM on February 21, 2014

Possibly of interest: the man playing guitar for Audra McDonald is her husband.
posted by hippybear at 9:35 PM on February 21, 2014

Okay, and really....

The brilliance of the Todd Haynes video is how it takes this song which is utterly celebratory in its original context and sets it entirely within pathos, with all the women in the audience being drawn in to the performance on stage and reacting to it within their individual emotional contexts.

Mr. hippybear and I were watching Six By Sondheim (because we are both massive Sondheim fans and it was something we were not going to not see), and it is a charming documentary, a career retrospective which leans more heavily on creative philosophy than most and is full of deep insights in good ways, and then around the midpoint that video plays and we were both utterly riveted and held nearly breathless through its duration.

When it was over we both looked at each other and simultaneously said "holy fuck, wow!" It was a resetting of mammoth depth, completely unexpected, and it fit perfectly into the flow of the documentary even though it was a very different tone from everything else. It was like someone opened a door into a different room and said "Look, these Sondheim songs you know so well, they could also be THIS!". I've been looking for weeks for the video to be posted so I could link it here.

The songs which are not linked in this thread are a very early telecine of a performance of West Side Story's "Something's Coming" performed by Larry Kert (basically unavailable, AFAIK), Dean Jones recording "Being Alive" for the Company Original Broadway Cast album, and a highly adapted CGI modification of "Sunday" from Sunday In The Park With George (here in its original Broadway presentation).

Seriously, if you like Sondheim, if you like musicals, if you are curious about the creative spirit and how someone drives across years and against setbacks to continue... seek out Six By Sondheim. It is deep and insightful and funny and delightful and fun.
posted by hippybear at 9:52 PM on February 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

Jarvis Cocker is sublime. The guy is a national treasure.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:11 AM on February 22, 2014

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