"Well, kids, if you must know, I was born on the twelfth day of the twelfth month," said a freshly 30-year-old Frank Sinatra, beaming on his birthday radio broadcast in 1945.
"And I spent 12 years in the kindergarten," he joked, before sliding into a bright duet of "Button Up Your Overcoat" with June Hutton.
Seventy years later, the calendar's two 12s are set to align as they always do, but this time they mark a milestone — the centennial birthday for New Jersey's legendary crooner, actor, businessman and one of the greatest entertainers of the 20th Century.
All year, the industries Sinatra once dominated have fawned over Ol' Blue Eyes' big 100, pumping out album collections, a full-length documentary, biography, photo books, and even a star-studded "Grammy All-Star" tribute show airing Sunday on CBS.
More locally, many libraries, museums and concert halls have all planned events to honor and celebrate the transcendent works of the Hoboken's most notable son.
For all the Frank-lovin' Jersey diehards out there, here's a comprehensive roundup of all that's going on in-state and beyond, and XX ways to remember the grinning Chairman of the Board.
Visit the Sinatra exhibit at Hoboken Historical Museum — Since August, the Hoboken Historical Museum has hosted a commemorative exhibit titled "Frank Sinatra: The Man, The Voice and The Fans." The engaging gallery features interactive displays and videos from the crooner's 60-year career, period-appropriate listening stations, and rare fan photographs and artifacts to illustrate the performer's early years in Hoboken. Open through July 2016, Tuesdays through Thursdays 2 to 7 p.m.; Fridays: 1 to 5 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays 12 to 5 p.m.; $4 admission, children are free. 1301 Hudson St, Hoboken.
Brush up on your Frank facts — In accordance with his centennial, Sinatra's website has posted 100 fun facts about the man. Did you know he almost died during childbirth, or he was arrested for seduction — it was a crime in 1938 — or he incited a New York City bobby-soxer riot in 1944?Check out the full list at sinatra.com.
Watch the "Sinatra 100 - An All-Star Grammy Concert" — Contemporary stars align to honor Ol' Blue Eyes — an 11-time Grammy Award winner — on CBS, for a talent-laden "All-Star Grammy Tribute" Dec. 6. Scheduled performers include Tony Bennett, Garth Brooks, Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood, Usher and many more. The show will be filmed at Encore Theatre in Las Vegas. Airs Dec. 6, 9 to 11 p.m. on CBS. For more information, visit grammy.com.
Buy the new "Sinatra 100" photo book — An intimate look at one of the 20th century's greatest entertainers is captured in the new "Sinatra 100" photo book, with many previously unseen family archive images portraying the artist both on stage and off. Includes afterwords from children Nancy, Tina and Frank Jr. and foreword from fellow crooner Tony Bennett and casino mogul Steve Wynn. $36 on amazon.com.
Or check out "Sinatra: The Photographs" — Another photo compilation, this time with a foreword from fourth and final wife Barbara, and with more public photos, snapped by veteran picture-takers Ted Allan, Bob Willoughby, Ed Thrasher, Sid Avery, and Bernie Abramson. Commentary from Sinatra himself and those close to him accompany the shots. $30 on Amazon.com.
Listen to "Ultimate Sinatra" — Two collections of Sinatra tracks have been released this year, first was "Ultimate Sinatra," a 100-song, 4-CD set of greatest hits released between 1939 and 1979. The package includes an 80-page booklet of essays, quotes and photos. A single-disc version with 24 tunes was also released. Available from $24 on Amazon.com.
Or listen to another massive Sinatra release — Released Nov. 20 was "Frank Sinatra: A Voice On Air 1935-1955," a second, 100-song compilation, but this time with rare live radio recordings — 91 never-before-heard renditions — including his work with Mark Warnow and Hit Parade Orchestra, Axel Stordahl and His Orchestra, and more. "Long Ago and Far Away," with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, is one of many highlights. Available for $49 on Amazon.com.
Read "Sinatra: The Chairman" — Fancy another Frank-centric book for the shelf? Check out "Sinatra: The Chairman," penned by "Sinatra: The Voice" author James Kaplan. The sequel and comprehensive biography details the entertainer's life as a singer, actor, family man, business mogul and friend to the era's most powerful figures. $20 on Amazon.com.
Attend the Sinatra Centennial Birthday Party in Hoboken — Frank's hometown will celebrate his big day with the Swingadelic Big Band, rocking Sinatra tunes behind a tremendous view of the Manhattan skyline. At the Bissinger Room at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, tribute singers include Zack Alexander, David Arellano, John Bauers, Peter Cafasso, Tony Corrao and Greg Myers. Dec. 12 7 to 11 p.m.; 4th Floor, Howe Center, 1 Castle Point Terrace, Hoboken. VIP tickets $150, general admission $75, available at hobokennj.org.
Watch the extensive "All Or Nothing At All" documentary — HBO first aired "All Or Nothing At All," a two-night, four-hour dive into Sinatra's life directed by Alex Gibney ("Going Clear," "Enron"), in April, and now the full production is available on DVD and Blu-Ray. Includes scenes from Frank's 1971 "Retirement Concert," as well as commentary from his first wife, children, co-stars and more. Airs again on HBO Dec. 12 at noon, or is available to buy for $30 on Amazon.com.
Take the Sinatra Walking Tour — The Hoboken Historical Museum has created theFrank Sinatra Self-Guided Walking Tour, a path through the city that highlights his family homes — his first was at 415 Monroe St. — the Rialto Theatre where he sang, and even a local cheese steak shop draped in hundreds of Sinatra photos. More than two-dozen points of interest await walkers who can stand the December chill. For a map, visit hobokenmuseum.org.
Watch the "Live From Lincoln Center" Sinatra tribute — Not to be outdone by the "Grammy All-Stars" performances, the renowned "Live From Lincoln Center" series will air its own commemoration — titled "Sinatra: Voice For A Century" — Dec. 18 on PBS, with renditions from Christina Aguilera, Chris Botti, Fantasia, Bernadette Peters, Sting, the New York Philharmonic and more. Comedian Seth MacFarlane will host. Dec. 18 at 9 p.m.
Re-watch "Pal Joey" in NYC — The classic 1957 film, starring Sinatra, Rita Hayworth and Kim Novak, will be screened at Film Forum in downtown New York City on The Chairman's birthday. Follow Sinatra as second-rate San Francisco singer Joey Evans, as he falls for a naive chorus girl and tries to leverage an ex-stripper. The film will be introduced by former New York Times editor Charles McGrath. Showing is Dec. 12 at 4:55 p.m.; 209 W Houston St, New York; Tickets are $13, available at filmforum.org.
Or indulge in your own Sinatra movie marathon — If "Pal Joey" isn't for you, kick back and take in some of his other films, as he appeared in more than 50. "From Here To Eternity" (1953) or "The Man With The Golden Arm" (1955) — for which he scored an Oscar win and nomination — are not be bad places to start. Target or Best Buy should carry some Sinatra flicks, or buy them online for less than $10 each on Amazon.com.
See Michael Feinstein sing Sinatra — New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark will celebrate Sinatra's birthday with five-time Grammy nominee and Great American Songbook revivalist Michael Feinstein. The singer and pianist will play Frank's hits, accompanied by a swinging, 17-piece band. Feinstein earned a 2009 Grammy nomination for "The Sinatra Project" and a 2012 Emmy nom for his TV special, "The Sinatra Legacy." Dec. 12 Tickets $49 to $100, available at njpac.org.
Or see Joe Piscopo revive his Sinatra impersonation — Former "Saturday Night Live" jokester and Jersey's own Joe Piscopo will commemorate Sinatra's birthday with a night at the Sands in Bethlehem, Pa., honoring the man and his music. And of course, he will revisit his famed Sinatra impression, which he first broke out on "SNL" in 1982. Dec. 12 at 8 p.m.; Sands Event Center; Tickets are $35 to $55, available at sandseventcenter.com.
Throw a Sinatra-themed party — Something like this may be reserved for the truest of fans, but hosting a bonafide Sinatra spectacular wouldn't be so difficult. Build a lengthy Sinatra-centric playlist on Spotify, drink Jack Daniel's whiskey (his favorite spirit), buy some orange plastic cups (he loved the color), throw on a blazer and buy some party fedoras. For the truly fancy, invest in some Sinatra Limited Edition cigars.
Re-read "Frank Sinatra Has A Cold" — If all else fails, and none of the events fit into your holiday schedule, or you don't wish to shell out the cash for new music or a book, you can always re-read one of the greatest pieces of magazine journalism ever — Gay Talese's 15,000 Esquire opus published in 1966 is beautifully penned profile of the entertainer. Read the story in full here.
CREDIT // SOURCE - Bobby Olivier // NJ.COM
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