Today started out just like any other day would (OK, except that I'd worked all night which I don't normally do so maybe today didn't start out just like any other day would.) I got home from work, checked my e-mail, listened to a little music, caught up with a couple friends, took Anna to preschool and then suddenly realized (thanks to Mike) that today was Olivia Newton-John's 58th birthday! And I'd plum forgotten! My 12 year old self would have been shocked speechless.
My Olivia Newton-John fandom was probably the first pop music obsession I had. And she was almost certainly, without a doubt, my first celebrity crush. I remember seeing her in Grease and just loving her, maybe it was the innocent thing then followed by the ultimate bad girl at the end of the movie. (Livvy smoking! *aghast*) And then there was Xanadu that I remember begging my mom to take me to in the theater. She did call the theater to make sure that it was appropriate for me at age 8 or 9 (which it was - the called it "a great family movie!") Looking back on Xanadu, it's pretty bad when measured by the traditional movie quality barometer, but when measured by the guilty pleasure barometer, it's off the charts. Granted Michael Beck as the leading man is pretty insufferable - I've seen toothbrushes with more personality and acting ability. In a way, I'm glad that Xanadu is appreciated now more than ever - although the fact that it is the last movie Gene Kelly ever starred in is probably not something he would be particularly proud of if he were alive today. And then, Olivia came to Ames when I was in 5th grade and I desperately wanted to go see her, but my folks just either couldn't or wouldn't come up with the money for me to go, even though my 5th grade teacher, Ms. Hindman ended up going, much to my great envy.
So anyway, in response to Olivia's (or as Mike refers to her, Dame Livvy) birthday, we had a little virtual listening party on last.fm today. Mike got as many people as he could to listen to at least one ONJ track, and, as those things usually go, if you play one track, you're very likely to play more than one. I, of course, didn't take much convincing to contribute to the party. I played around 15 tracks of hers today, and I could have played more, but unfortunately, real life took precedence. It was so much fun playing ONJ with all these other folks who can appreciate her music. It was, for a little bit, community in the true meaning of the word -- people coming together for a common interest and sharing that for the good of all. I know, it's "just music", but in my world, there's no such thing as "just music."
And last year at this time, I finally saw ONJ in concert at the Paramount in Cedar Rapids. I went with Wendy and we had a great time. Olivia's stage presence is so good and she sang so many old hits, even though she was pushing a new CD at the time. The audience was fantastic - mostly older people but also a lot of people my age as well. She seems genuinely down-to-earth and a very warm person. While I know that a lot of stars just seem that way, I think there's only so much of that you can put on. It was a great night.
Then we hit a deer on the way home from Cedar Rapids, and although no one was hurt, we had quite a difficult time getting back home that night. It totalled my sister's car, and we ended up getting back to Ames in the back seat of a tow truck. Craziness. And oh yeah, the deer's hoof must have hit the window because this is what I saw the next morning when I got up to survey the damage a little more.
I realized that that deer hoof could have bashed the left side of my head in! Egads!
But even though the car was totalled and I nearly died (no drama there!), we decided ONJ was worth it. Like there was any doubt.