The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question

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WicaS
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The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question#1
Posted: 6/6/12 at 7:30am
Hey, guys. I'm not from the States or any other English speaking country so I have a bit of a problem with understanding of The Ladies Who Lunch Lyrics. I adore Sondheim, so I would like to understand this song as much as possible. Please, answer my questions if you have time.

What are THE GIRLS ON THE GO?

What is the meaning of the second line in a song EVERYBODY LAUGH?

Why is LIFE written with all big letters? Is this refering to the magazine?

Thank you for your anwsers.

(P.S. Sorry for bad English)
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The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question#2
Posted: 6/6/12 at 7:49am
"The girls on the go" is not a specific reference, it just refers to women who keep themselves busy and active and always doing things, in contrast to the "girls who just watch" in the previous verse. Joanne's point is that even if their busy-ness is always being involved with charities or "important causes," it doesn't make them immune from the same thing that gets all the other girls in the end: death. The shock of the song is that after cleverly cataloging the nitty gritty of the lives of these women, the climax of the song makes an surprisingly existentialist point.

Joanne begins the song with the words "I'd like to propose a toast..." which is usually the start of a toast to someone or something important or profound or worthy of recognition. The she toasts to a specific class of women that is always thought of as being superficial and spoiled and petty and unimportant: wealthy women who have nothing more to do than meet other wealthy women for lunch or brunch. So, she's saying, "Go ahead and laugh."

LIFE is written in big letters because it refers to the magazine, but with one of Sondheim's characteristically brilliant double meanings: Not only are they clutching the magazine to keep in touch with the topics of the articles, but they are also clutching onto life itself (lowercase) to keep from being isolated and alone and to keep "in touch" with the world and also with themselves.

Thank you for your questions. Go have a Vodka Stinger, if you're old enough. You'll be shocked to discover that they're disgusting.



Updated On: 6/6/12 at 07:49 AM
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The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question#2
Posted: 6/6/12 at 7:59am
Thank you, that was really helpful. The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question
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The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question#3
Posted: 6/6/12 at 9:21am
What, Joey, you don't like drinking mouthwash?! haha

Once again Joey, I would like to compliment you. You have a way of explaining things very thoroughly and clearly while always being concise and never condescending. You are a true treasure on the board not just for your experience and knowlege but your writing skills. I'd have just answered "She means busy bitches and yes the magazine." haha :)
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The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question#4
Posted: 6/6/12 at 9:33am
^ Hear, hear

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The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question#5
Posted: 6/6/12 at 9:47am
In addition to what Joey said, note that "life" in its lower-case form is pointedly qualified. It isn't "life." It's just a "copy." Are these women truly living? Or merely "staying in touch" with life? "Keeping house but clutching a copy of life" may reference Betty Friedan's theory re: the dissatisfaction of a great many women, contemporaries of Joanne, who were not well suited for house keeping as a livelihood, a condition Friedan called "the problem that has no name," in "The Feminine Mystique," her highly influential 1963 book which is credited with sparking the wave of American feminism in - to "copy" Sondheim's technique - "VOGUE" when COMPANY premiered.



Updated On: 6/6/12 at 09:47 AM
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The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question#6
Posted: 6/6/12 at 10:15am
I too wanted to compliment PalJoey and thank him for his graceful, thoughtful, informative posts.
For arts and culture commentary, along with other assorted opinions, visit WEEPING ON WHEELS at http://weepingonwheels.tumblr.com/
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The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question#7
Posted: 6/6/12 at 10:31am
To add to the LIFE reference:

LIFE magazine never dealt with serious issues. The fact that someone would "clutch a copy of LIFE" would indicate that they are keeping abreast of fashion, cosmetics, beautiful homes and other rather superficial matters.
"Long live God!" (GODSPELL)
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The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question#8
Posted: 6/6/12 at 10:54am
No, Dollypop. Life covered serious issues as well.

The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question
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The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question#9
Posted: 6/6/12 at 10:58am
Bravo to PalJoey....and everybody else here....for answering this question with kindness and respect. Plus, your answer was well stated. So nice to read through this thread.
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The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question#10
Posted: 6/6/12 at 11:07am
Life was a general interest magazine- it covered news, politics, entertainment, fashions. It was perhaps best known for its photojournalism. Big pictures on every page!

Now maybe we can figure out what Mahlers is? I am pretty sure it's some kind of pastry?
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
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The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question#11
Posted: 6/6/12 at 11:18am
I have a Mahlers with my coffee every morning, Joe.
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The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question#12
Posted: 6/6/12 at 11:26am
Love that terrific story Elaine tells about asking Steve where she could get a piece of Mahler's, thinking it was a bakery. In response, he said "Elaine, I have to pee."

What a great thread. I wish we were always this nice!
"I know now that theatre saved my life." - Susan Stroman
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The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question#13
Posted: 6/6/12 at 11:26am
And what is a "Pin Turplee'"?
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The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question#15
Posted: 6/6/12 at 11:29am
A matinee, a Pinter play,
Perhaps a piece of Mahler's

Isn't it (as has often been said) as likely to be Gustav?

Beaten to it by one minute!

Updated On: 6/6/12 at 11:29 AM
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The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question#16
Posted: 6/6/12 at 11:47am
“I take the attitude of the character. It’s a song performed by a lady who’s putting herself down. It has nothing to do with what I think. But if you’re talking about the phrase, as far as I know, I made it up.” Had he spent a lot of time at places such as La Grenouille and Quo Vadis, observing society ladies at lunch? “No, no, no, no. I’m not a chic restaurant-goer, and I don’t eat lunch.”

It actually went back to his mother, he explained. Etta “Foxy” Sondheim was a socially ambitious Seventh Avenue dress designer and a pal of Molly Berns, the wife of the co-owner of ‘21,’ the still-famous former speakeasy at 21 West 52nd Street frequented by businessmen, politicians, and celebrities. “My mother and Molly used to have lunch there all the time,” Sondheim recalled, “and occasionally I would be invited. So the ladies who lunch for me are the denizens of the ‘21’ Club. Some of these ladies were very chic, and they wore hats to lunch. And they also hung around our house a lot. My mother liked people who were rich. We’re not talking about the F. Scott Fitzgerald rich. We’re talking about Central Park West rich. It was much more an upper-middle-class than an upper-class existence. Many of the women worked in the fashion industry. Mollie Parnis was a friend of my mother’s, and Jo Copeland too. These were the top designers—their clothes would sell at Saks and Bergdorf’s. They were the Donna Karans and Diane von Furstenbergs. My mother also had a lot of friends who were silent-movie stars who married well, people like Colleen Moore. That was the circle. So I grew up with all those ladies playing mah-jongg in my mother’s living room. And picturing them, the phrase ‘the ladies who lunch’ just popped into my head.

“My mother had a lot of pretensions,” he continued. “One of them that she picked up from some of her tonier friends was ‘luncheon,’ which always struck me as a screamingly funny word. ‘I’m having luncheon at “21,” ’ she would say. I think ‘lunch’ is one of the funniest words in the world. That’s one of the reasons I used it.”

A long wonderful article about "The Ladies Who Lunch"- literally and figuratively
Vanity Fair
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
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The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question#17
Posted: 6/6/12 at 12:05pm
I'd love to respond to that wonderful article, but I'm late for lunch! Ta for now!

Everybody RISE!
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The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question#18
Posted: 6/6/12 at 3:39pm
Thank you all very much. You're answers were very hepful. I finshed listening to Company Recording, now I'm gonna listen Follies 2011 Recording. The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question

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The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question#19
Posted: 6/6/12 at 3:44pm
First listen to the original Follies, then listen to 2011.
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The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question#20
Posted: 6/6/12 at 3:47pm
"I finshed listening to Company Recording, now I'm gonna listen Follies 2011 Recording."

Well, get set! There's a laundry list of references you may need help with in "I'm Still Here".

BTW, LIFE was not just a magazine about fashion, celebrities and architecture. It covered wars and politics, etc. That was an absurd post.

I believe it's also printed in all caps because it's of it's logo, and was always in all caps as you can see in PalJoey's post below.
"Carson has combined his passion for helping children with his love for one of Cincinnati's favorite past times - cornhole - to create a unique and exciting event perfect for a corporate outing, entertaining clients or family fun."

"In Oz, the verb is douchifizzation." PRS

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The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question#21
Posted: 6/6/12 at 4:12pm
Brenda Fraser? Beebe's bathysphere? Reno?
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
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The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question#22
Posted: 6/6/12 at 4:20pm
Is Reno a tough reference? That was one of the ones I always knew what it meant.
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The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question#23
Posted: 6/6/12 at 4:25pm
You only knew it was a reference to the "quickie divorce" capital of the US because of "The Women"...like any proper gay kid in America!
"Carson has combined his passion for helping children with his love for one of Cincinnati's favorite past times - cornhole - to create a unique and exciting event perfect for a corporate outing, entertaining clients or family fun."

"In Oz, the verb is douchifizzation." PRS

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The Ladies Who Lunch Lyric Question#24
Posted: 6/6/12 at 4:27pm
The current production actually has annotated lyrics of "I'm Still Here" on the website.

http://folliesbroadway.com/about/im-still-here/

Some of them are very interesting and they answer most of the questions you've asked.
Scratch and claw for every day you're worth! Make them drag you screaming from life, keep dreaming You'll live forever here on earth.