Monday, February 28, 2011

Con Gusto!

"There is an eloquence in true enthusiasm” - Edgar Allan Poe

Did anyone else feel there was something lacking last night during the incredibly well-orchestrated, well-hyped Academy Awards presentations?  On facebook chats last night, I heard words like "deadpan" and "boring" and "dignified" describing the "festivities."

I thought the women looked more beautiful than ever before, the men more dashing (yes, dignified, in most cases), but there was something missing. Where was the enthusiasm?

Don't misunderstand. I like dressing beautifully and feeling dignified, but I've never thought that dignity precluded enthusiasm. Kevin Spacey, for one brief shining moment, demonstrated that dignity and enthusiasm can coexist perfectly.

Composers have a term for this, "con gusto," which means, "with relish". You needn't lose your dignity, but show some passion and excitement for what you do, for heaven's sake. Really. Do it for 'heaven's' sake, which is where your gifts came from, after all.

Maybe we should tap into the unrestrained joy of our inner child more often. Like this little guy, Jonathon, who cannot contain his enthusiasm, I'd rather see someone exhaust himself with the love of his craft and end up on the floor in a fit of laughter than to be so restrained as to shield himself from his own passionate feelings. 

Con gusto, maestro!

The children from New York City's PS 22 gave the most enthusastic performance of the evening last night. Some friends (you know who you are ) thought it to be too free and "underrehearsed" but at least it had enthusiasm. I thought it was a final, much needed, breath of fresh air.

When we live our lives con gusto, it becomes contagious, just as the obvious lack of gusto was contagious last night. Whether dressed to the nines or carpooling in sweatpants and t-shirt, we spread the feeling that we care.

I wonder what Jonathan will grow up to do with his life. If he maintains that level of enthusiasm, he'll be able to rule the world, or at the very least, the Venezualan Youth Orchestra (Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra). He reminds me very much of another conductor who fearlessly releases his exuberant inner child, and it has obviously spread to every lucky teen in that orchestra, and as a result, spills over into the audience. He is Gustavo Dudamel, and here he conducts the VYO in Leonard Bernstein's "Mambo!" Enjoy!

Live today con gusto!


  1. Oh Jo! I LOVE Gustavo and Jonathan is fantastic too. I agree about the Oscars but I did enjoy the kids too.

    Always love your writing!

    Peace and much love to you today and always...

  2. LOVED THAT LITTLE GUY!!! You are so right, it is contagious! What a wonderful MONDAY it will be. THANKS

  3. Good morning, Vicki! Thanks for the comment...of COURSE you would enjoy the kids!

    Peace and love to you, too, dear friend.

  4. That's what it's all about, Reya, yes?


  5. Hi Patty! I think I need to watch little Jonathan every morning BEFORE I get out of bed!

    Thanks for the kind words...I hope your Monday is VERY wonderful!

  6. Watched some of it, having recorded it so I could zip thru most of it (so much is strictly a waste of time--endless thanking, which has very little to do with humility and generosity and more to do with--I'm here with a microphone--this is a chance for the performance of a lifetime!).

    I've actually enjoyed a few of those performances over the years. Classy women from the heart of love. Beautiful men from the core of dignity. Revealing sensitivities--"You love me, you really really love me."

    I reflected about Billy Crystal's genius and what appeared to be effortless entertainment which followed the checklist of how to do it right. Anne Hathaway is probably one of the sweetest young ladies in Hollywood, I don't know. And the dude, probably has assets which we'll all learn about in his career ahead. ABC has invested millions and the point is, "We know how to get our money's worth out of this suckers!"

    So there you have it. What is really the point? Money. The energy that our superstars pour into their desire to be recognized and awarded could probably save our school systems. The expense of glamour and luxury would save countless children from desperation. I'm all for the Academy Awards, but honestly it is obnoxious, as is even my own investment in it.

  7. Ouch. I really was just hoping to use the show as a jumping off point to discuss imbuing our existence with a little more enthusiasm.

    You are correct, of course, about the obscene amounts of money being spent and made, whether we point to actors, athletes, or rock stars today. It makes no sense.

    But let's save that discussion for another day while we live this day with some joyous gusto.

    Celebrate this moment!

  8. It's the last day of February this year! That is a very good reason to be enthusiastic!!!! Remember when Neil Diamond and Barbara Streisand sang "You Don't Bring Me Flowers"? That was an Oscar moment!!! And I loved the crazy songs Billy Crystal used to make up.
    The video of Jonathan is amazing!! I cannot believe he held his concentration that long. He has a pretty big sized head and I bet it is just filled with rhythm!! I am forwarding The Mambo to my son-in-law Jeff. The family are going on a cruise in March. I don't know if they are stopping in Venezula, but he will wish he was if he hears this! He plays the slide trombone and just loves the Canadian Brass!! (talk about enthusiasm). Thanks for sharing, Jo!! Bravo!! No one got a total standing O, last night did they?

  9. Hi Linda! You're right...February is alllllmost behind us now. Welcome, March!

    I'm so glad you enjoyed this post as much as I did. And the Canadian Brass are also one of my favorites! Their arrangement of "The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba" makes for a GREAT way to wake up in the morning!

    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing the enthusiasm!

  10. Another great, thought-provoking post. I agree that the women looked more beautiful than ever, and the men more elegant. What I believe is that there were few there who were taught (or learned one way or another) that one can be dressed to the nines and have a wonderful time. That enthusiasm, or behaving 'con gusto' isn't synonymous with letting it all hang out! They reminded me of so many elegant window dummies. They are like some of my clients for whom life is all or nothing - because having fun and being enthusiastic is equated with drugs, too much alcohol and everything over-the-top, many of them will try to succeed by working all day and then staying in evenings and weekends, not seeing friends, not socializing. Of course this can only last a short time.
    I'll step down from my soap box!......but I must say that I am nostalgic for the sort of Hollywood that was populated with sophistication, excitement and devil-may-care elegance. They knew how to have fun.

  11. Brava! (I'm giving you a standing ovation)

    I couldn't put my finger on it, but you hit it squarely on the head...they were "like so many elegant window dummies."

    It was as if they were simply hangers for the dresses, advertising the designers whose gowns they wore. They may as well have been on the catwalk as on the red carpet for the personality they showed.

    And your point about many of them not knowing the difference between having fun and having over-the-top extremes is well made. Hmmmm...a certain Charlie Sheen comes to mind for some reason. tsk.

    Thanks so much for putting a period and exclamation point to this post, Pondside. You have my permission to get on that soap box anytime!


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