There’s also a fine piece by musician Eric Felten in the Journal (subscriber-only):
Because his career was a fantastic feat of self-invention, it is little wonder that the predominant spirit he conveyed was a childlike awe and pleasure at living the high life. As the years piled up and he suffered from debilitating ailments that made walking increasingly difficult in his final years, he concealed his discomfort. Each performance became an act of self-transformation in which he threw off his troubles. Every time he sang Razaf and J. C. Johnson's racy announcement, "Guess Who's in Town," he conveyed the exuberance of someone who had just breezed into the room to give the party a lift.
In "Hannah and Her Sisters," Woody Allen's punk-addled date just doesn't get it. On the sidewalk outside the Carlyle, Mr. Allen berates her: "You don't deserve Cole Porter." One suspects that Bobby Short would have disagreed. With his elegant egalitarianism, Mr. Short treated everyone as though they deserved Cole Porter. And that was the most gracious gesture of all.
IT WOULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED AT ONE OF HIS GIGS
No, I don't think anyone ever fired a gun at the Carlyle. Guardian critic Caroline Sullivan seems surprised to hear bullets fly at a rap concert in London:
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Another member of the group I was with shouted "We're going right now!" and we joined the surge - though, really, we had little choice. The options were to be swept along or to stand your ground and be crushed by what were now scores of people, desperate to flee whoever was standing in the middle of the hall, calmly firing a gun. It's hard to tell what was more frightening: the thought that the "gunman" (who ever uses that word in real life?) was only yards away, or the prospect of being trampled in the bottleneck created by waves of punters as they forced their way to the door.