My Best Angie Dickinson

There’s a scene in the movie “Tootsie” where Dorothy Michaels (Dustin Hoffman playing an unemployed actor who resorts to drag in order to get work, as we all know) has just been curtly dismissed from her audition by Dabney Coleman’s chauvinistic soap opera director. He won’t even let her read for the part, saying she’s the wrong type, not feminine enough. Dorothy unleashes a feminist tirade at him, the producer and the startled crew that has everyone on the set transfixed — all eyes are on her as she storms out.

The producer, a woman, follows Dorothy and catches up with her by the elevators.

She asks, “Was that for real in there, or were you just auditioning for the part?”

Without hesitation, Dorothy replies, “Which answer will get me the reading, Miss Marshall?”

This song was first conceived on an acoustic guitar in Diana Reese’s ostensibly sunny Berkeley flat, but it never really came to life until the All-Girl Band opened it up. I half-heartedly tried to name this “Can’t Come My Way” but that’s such a terrible title I couldn’t even bring myself to type it in now, years later, as the headline to this post. The Girls called it “Day-O” due to certain quirks in the vocal arrangement. Basically, this was me trying to act tough to cover up the agony of crippling heartbreak. Straightforward enough, right? But so deluded was I regarding the efficacy of my charade, I didn’t even realize that I had quite liberally festooned the song with actual howls of pain. Oops.

Recorded live on cassette, in a smokey little club somewhere in New York City. Feel free to think of this as fitting in with “Aloha Bobby & Rose” and “Jazz Song” as sort of a trilogy of late-period All-Girl Band, when we achieved our purest aesthetic distillation of Devastionalism.

Day-O

Philip Shelley and his Amazing All-Girl Band

Let’s all plot a course
Forgetting not, of course
That all the roads are paved with sadness

I believed
As surely as I breathed
Only to find this way lies madness

Would you like to see the things I haul around?
Would you like to see me six feet underground?

You had it all worked out
And that’s okay
I’ve seen it all before
It can’t come my way

Standing by the door
And wanting so much more
But all the roads are paved are paved with sadness

I believed
As surely as I breathed
Only to find this way lies madness

3 Replies to “My Best Angie Dickinson”

  1. Thank you, Mrs. Kennedy, though you know full well that you are my blogging role model.

    And thank you, Paula. (Uh, yeah, it’d kind of have to be… I mean, who’s kidding who, right?)

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