Saturday, March 5, 2011

From Holiday Road to the Great White Way

I was a kid when my parents bought me a subscription to Sports Illustrated. I think it was a Christmas present. If memory serves me correctly - and given how many years it was now it is likely that my recollection is flawed in some regard - my first issue of the 1979 Sportsmen of the Year with Willie Stargell and Terry Bradshaw on the cover.

At the start of my relationship with Sports Illustrated I had no idea that SI put out an annual swimsuit issue. Imagine my surprise - and delight - as a libidinous 13 year-old when the issue that followed the one detailing the Super Bowl arrived in our mailbox on Wertsville Road. Nice to meet you Christie Brinkley. As I recall, its arrival elicited quite a fervent reaction from Mom as well. I hesitate ever to speak for my mother but I think it is a fair statement (even 30 + years later) that Mom did not experience delight when she saw it.

I had a subscription to SI for a number of years (I think through college but I might be wrong) and I came to view the Swimsuit issue as the Ying to Groundhog Day's Yang. It was something that made February suck significantly less than it otherwise did. And much like every other young man of a certain age, upon making initial eye contact with Ms. Brinkley on the cover in 1980 I had been instantly smitten. When she graced the cover again in 1981, I was in love.

By 1982, Christie Brinkley's run as the SI Swimsuit cover girl had ended. She branched out into other things. She took a Vacation with Chevy Chase and the Griswolds in 1983. In the past quarter-century though she has not done a lot of acting - unless one counts the endless infomercials with Chuck Norris for Total Gym - or singing.....or dancing. In fact, in just about every promotional piece I found for her on-line she is referred to as, "One of America's most recognizable and successful models." The bio on her own web site describes her as, "more than one of America's most successful and recognizable models appearing on more than 500 magazine covers worldwide. She also excels as an artist, writer, photographer, designer, actress, philanthropist, environmentalist, and political activist." In total, she lists nine really cool and special things about herself on HER web site and out of those nine even she places five things above "actress".

I mention all of this because earlier this week I received a promotional e-mail from inviting me to purchase tickets to CHICAGO - The Musical (not to be confused with "Chicago - The Cubs" or some such thing). The hook? Christie Brinkley. For two and one half months - beginning on April 4 and wrapping on June 19 - Ms. Brinkley is going to be treading the boards on the Great White Way. Here is the tag line, "Christie Brinkley, one of the world's most successful supermodels, will make her highly anticipated Broadway debut as Chicago's merry murderess Roxie Hart. Catch her red-handed for a strictly limited 11-week engagement beginning April 4th!" Reading this advertisement (for tickets ranging in price from $60.00 to $79.50 by the way) two things leaped immediately to mind. First, who are these people - other than Ms. Brinkley, her family and the investors in this production who hope that her fanny on stage will put fannies in the seats in their theatre - who are "highly anticipating" her Broadway debut? Second, what does her status as one of the world's "most successful supermodels" have to do at all with her ability to sing, to dance and to act?

If you are braver than I am, feel free to plunk down your hard-earned money and find out. Me? I will be sitting this one out. As a 13 year-old boy, the pleasure of her company cost less than $3.00. I have no interest in paying twenty to twenty-five times as much to shatter that illusion....

....if they cast Chevy Chase to play opposite her, then call me. Perhaps I will reconsider my position. Until then, I will be content to watch her act and dance here. It sure as hell is not pretty but at least it is free.


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