‘Kennedy Center Honors’ a night of big moments

  • By Rich Heldenfels Akron Beacon Journal
  • Thursday, December 26, 2013 5:36pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

When the Kennedy Center saluted its latest honorees Dec. 8, it was hard to decide what the biggest moment was.

Supreme Court associate justice Sonia Sotomayor spoke in praise of opera star Martina Arroyo.

Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly was on hand for Herbie Hancock. (“I know, I’m surprised, too,” O’Reilly told a stunned audience.)

Rufus Wainwright, Don Henley, Garth Brooks and Tony Bennett sang together in a salute to Billy Joel.

Now CBS gets to draw on that and other material for its two-hour 36th Annual Kennedy Center Honors special, which airs at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Besides Joel, Arroyo and Hancock, the honorees included Shirley MacLaine and Carlos Santana, with high-powered participants all around and President and First Lady Michelle Obama in the audience.

Harry Belafonte — himself a Kennedy Center honoree in 1989 — introduced the tribute to Santana, which also included an all-star band, Steve Winwood, Sheila E, Buddy Guy (who received a Kennedy Center honor last year), Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, vocalist Fher Olvera and more.

Jazz greats such as Terrence Blanchard, Jack DeJohnette and Chick Corea played in the Herebie Hancock segment, which later included Snoop Dogg.

Snoop, Rolling Stone noted, mixed lines from his song “Gin and Juice” with a line about Hancock, lyrics from Us3’s Cantaloop (which sampled Hancock’s music) and “a few call-and-response ‘heys’ and ‘hos.’”

You could see the D.C. elite “with their hands in the air,” Rolling Stone said.

Then there was the star-laden medley for opera star Arroyo.

Kathy Bates talked about her friend MacLaine. Bates was followed by Broadway actress (and “Bunheads” star) Sutton Foster and movie star Anna Kendrick performing songs associated with MacLaine.

Tony Bennett introduced Billy Joel, and Wainwright, Brooks, Henley and Panic at the Disco’s Brendon Urie all did their own versions of Joel songs before the collective work.

“All in service of the greats,” as Rolling Stone put it, and service meant to span generations and genres.

And quite a way to start waving goodbye to 2013.

Watch it

“The 35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors Special” airs at 8 p.m. Sunday on CBS.

More in Life

Leanne Smiciklas, the friendly lady who served customers of her husband’s Old School Barbeque from a schoolbus parked in front of the Reptile Zoo east of Monroe, has died at 64. (Dan Bates / Herald file)
Without her, beloved BBQ hotspot in Monroe can’t go on

Leanne Smiciklas, who ran the now-closed Old School BBQ along Highway 2 with her husband, died.

Taylor Johnston waters a philodendron at her home on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Three guidebooks to help the novice houseplant gardener

Indoor plants are popular again — and we’re not talking about your grandma’s African violets.

Plant of Merit: Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata,’ Japanese aralia

What: Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata,’ or variegated Japanese aralia, is an evergreen shrub… Continue reading

Don’t call Justice Brewing owner a gypsy — he’s just ‘homeless’

After an unexpected hardship, owner Nate McLaughlin won’t be moving his brewery to downtown Everett.

A mild December makes for easy winter cleanup in the garden

If you haven’t finished your November gardening tasks, here’s a list of chores to do this month.

Beer of the Week: Justice Brewing’s Outlook F——d, Northeast IPA

The brewery’s new beer with a vulgar name is a tropical IPA that riffs off its Outlook Hazy recipe.

Yummy Banh Mi offers cheap sandwiches with rich flavor

Classic Vietnamese meets fast food at new restaurant in downtown Everett.

Could a law to bring down the mob be used in Weinstein case?

The federal anti-racketeering law was drafted to bring down organized crime but it isn’t limited to it.

This author is throwing a virtual party for book lovers

Jennifer Bardsley is hosting a Facebook get-together for young-adult book authors and readers.

Most Read