Wednesday, December 15, 2010

For Chili

Unfortunately I can't embed this clip as that option has been disabled.

It's the final section of the Christmas episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Chili and I spent a long time looking for the young man who plays the trumpet in this show and we found him.

Let me back up.

Studio 60 was an Aaron Sorkin/Tommy Schlamme venture about a sketch comedy show based in LA. It lasted less than a season and its loss was tragic for the small but rabid following. This episode aired the first Christmas after Hurricane Katrina. As always Sorkin is right on top of current events and this episode is, I think, what Treme could be (Except that I credit the shaky legs of S60 to his not knowing LA the way he knows NYC and if he doesn't know LA, where he's lived, then how's he going to know New Orleans?). One of the story lines had to do with the show's house band having a new member. He was a trumpet player and he'd lost everything in the hurricane. He and a bunch of his fellows had come to Los Angeles looking for some work to get them through the holidays and the local musicians were calling in sick and letting the NOLA folks sub for them and sleep on their couches. So the staff at Studio 60 put together a group of NOLA musicians to be their musical guest that night. The actual musicians featured are, I'm almost certain, actual NOLA musicians who were looking for work in LA for the holidays that year just as Sorkin described. That section of the show is featured in this clip and it was at the time so intensely affecting (fuck, effecting? FUCK) that I saved the episode and watched it over and over again.

So did Chili. And we looked and looked for the trumpet player because we wanted to buy the song and to support him. We found him and he was very gracious and let us know that they were looking into getting his version of O Holy Night recorded. But that's the last we heard and I can't even remember his name now. I hate that.

But today I was thinking about him and thinking about this clip so I went searching. You know it's a big deal if I'm searching for a video. You know I don't do video. It is just as moving and glorious as it was when first I wept at it. It starts off with Steven Weber and Ed Asner doing some head to head work on a story line I can't entirely re-create for you. Something about Hong Kong and ethics and the network. About the 2:50 mark the music and the slide show of New Orleans begins (tissue alert). Then around the 5 minute mark Bradley Whitford delivers the speech a million women (and plenty of men) wish to hear from Sorkin's own mouth. It's a little creepy and it's filled with love and it's scored to a top 10 all time version of one of our most beloved Christmas songs. Oh yeah. My heart just broke a little. Again.

So I thought I'd remind Chili about it and share it with her.

And the rest of you, too.


  1. Love. Love. Love. I miss Aaron Sorkin TV. R and I were watching a DVR'd episode of The Sing Off and I saw the Whiffenpoofs were on there (voted off already, maybe?) and had a HUGE West Wing flashback.

  2. A couple of things:

    Yes, it's "affecting." Nicely done!

    The storyline was that a soldier was being interviewed in a live feed from a war zone and said "fuck" when the RPG went off, and the network broadcast it without the time delay and the FCC (and a bunch of Family Foundation-type organizations) were up in arms over it. I LOVED Asner's character's attitude about the whole thing; "if they're going to try to take my antenna down, they'd better come with someone scarier than the Foundation for the Family or whatever the hell they call themselves." LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

    Thanks for making me cry AGAIN. I was sure I'd tucked the man's name away (did he email us? How did we reach him?) but I can't find it.

    "You'd better get a head start, because I'm coming for you." LOVE it.

    You're awesome.

  3. bless you. all over again. for making me remember just how perfect and beautiful television CAN be. and that song, oh that song. perfection.

  4. We found a website and emailed him via a form there, I think, and then he sent you a reply. I want to say his name began with an A but I can't be sure of it.

    Television can be so beautiful and this was one of Sorkin's shining moments.