Sunday, March 10, 2013

When you're a Jet, you're a Jet ...

So I was eating breakfast at my usual breakfast place and one of the waiters -- a theater major at one of the local colleges -- tells me he may be directing a production of West Side Story and that he was thinking about whether to do a traditional rendition or setting it in another era.

I gave him the following ...

Year:  2007
Jets:  Traders at Goldman Sachs
Jets Girls:  Strippers
Sharks:  Traders at Bear Stearns
Sharks Girls:  Strippers
Officer Krupke:  The SEC

I gave this to him as a gift.  Free of charge.  Gratifyingly, I could see the gears turning in the kid's brain.  I mean, really.  It's perfect.  If he doesn't produce it, maybe I will.

Herewith, if that's even a word, the Jet Song ...

RIF:
When you're a Jet you're a Jet all the way
From your first cigarette
To your last dying day
When you're a Jet if the spit hits the fan
You've got brothers around 
You're a family man
You're never alone
You're never disconnected
You're home with your own
When company's expected
You're well-protected
Then you are set with a Capital J
Which you'll never forget 'till they cart you away
When you're a Jet you stay a Jet!

(speaking)
Now I know Tony like I know me,
And I gaurantee you can count him in.

ACTION:
In, out, let's get crackin'!
Where you gonna find Bernardo?

RIF:
At the dance tonight at the gym

BABY JOHN:
But the gym's neutral territory

RIF:
I'm gonna make nice with him, I'm only gonna challenge him

ICE:
Great, Daddy-O

RIF
So everybody dress up sweet and sharp and 
meet Tony and me at ten.
And walk tall!

A-RAB:
We always walk tall!

BABY JOHN:
We're Jets!

BIG DEAL:
The greatest!

DEISEL:
When you're a Jet you're the top cat in town
You're the Gold medal kid with the heavyweight crown

ICE:
When you're a Jet you're the swingin'est thing
Little boy, you're a man, Little man you're a king!

ALL:
The Jets are in gear
Our cylinders are clickin'
The sharks'll steer clear
'Cause every Puerto Rican's
A lousy chicken!
Here come the Jets like a bat outta hell
Someone gets in our way, someone don't feel so well!
Here come the Jets!
Little world, step aside!
Better go underground!
Better run, Better hide!
We're drawing the line,
So keep your nose's hidden
We're hangin' a sign
Says visitors forbidden
And we ain't kiddin'
Here come the Jets!
Yeah!
And we're gonna beat every last buggin' gang on the 
whole buggin' street.
on the whole ever mother lovin' street!
Yeah! 


Note to self:  Be sure and use the phrase Daddy-O as soon as possible.

I will say this one last thing:  Years ago I was breaking my fast at Belleville, a faux-New Orleans style restaurant on 5th Avenue in Park Slope.  As I remember it, Carlos Delgado, Charlie the Cat, had batted in an obscene amount of runs for the Mets the day before.  Setting, possibly, a team record.  Pausing to savor the moment (me being one of the few people in New York who actually liked Delgado), I happened to look up at the little television over the bar and they had just started playing West Side Story.

With no sound.

West Side Story, as you may remember, opens with an extended basketball slash dance slash rumble scene with little or no dialogue. And I couldn't stop watching it.  No sound on a tiny TV and I couldn't stop watching it.  By the end I knew, the way one truly knows something, that Jerome Robbins was a genius.

I'm hardly the first person to say this.  I'm probably not even the ten thousandth.  I'm just saying this is when it hit me like a ton of bricks.

You're not giving Robert Wise any love?
This isn't about Robert Wise.  It's about Jerry Robins.
Wise directed most of the show, and likely a good deal of the opening sequence.
I know.
So he must be a genius too.
No.  Wonderful director though.

Oh look.  Here's the u-tube version ...



That fact that the Jets and the Sharks are the least fierce New York gangs to ever occupy space in the movies doesn't need to be covered here.  As Daenerys Targaryen's maid Irri would say, it is known.  Likewise the painful ineptitude whenever a basketball enters the picture.  Which is odd, given that basketball is the ballet of sport.

But still, this is really something.

You're just a massive softy, aren't you.
Yes I am.
But people think you're dark and fierce.
And really, I'm like a snowflake in sunshine.

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