As the delights of the fall season crowd around, memories of summer slowly fade. I find it harder than ever to believe I really saw, at a respected, nationally acclaimed theater (Connecticut’s Goodspeed Opera House), Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas singing a duet. Not just singing, but dancing, too. And not just any old number, but one of the treasures of the American songbook, “On the Sunny Side of the Street”:


Grab your coat and get your hat
Leave your worries on the doorstep
Just direct your feet
To the Sunny Side of the Street


Can’t you hear that pitter-pat?
Oh, that happy tune is your step
Life can be so sweet
On the Sunny Side of the Street …

They’re big, fat, clean words that bounce off the notes and pass into the language: I recall, a couple of years back, seeing a cartoon of a glass case next to an elevator with a...

 
Introduce yourself to The New Criterion for the lowest price ever—and a receive an extra issue as thanks.
Popular Right Now