It’s summer in the city and sometimes during this time of year we find ourselves with the weird sensation of (gasp!) free time on our hands. Rather than letting this phenomenon catch you unawares on some stray Saturday afternoon, Jasper has you covered with our summertime series alliteratively called the Summer Sixes in which we ask members of the Columbia arts community to share their favorite top 6 films, reads, albums, or TV series binges. We’ll be bringing you this throughout the summer so pay attention to What Jasper Said to learn more about what your friends and neighbors like to do with their spare time, and maybe get some ideas of what to do with yours.
We asked Broadway veteran Gillian Scalici Albrecht to help us out with her top 6 in any of the above categories and she — like other folks to come — was kind enough to help us out in almost all the categories. Read Gillian’s responses below, then check out some of her work at the end of the post.
Summer in SC is for me about staying out of the heat than anything else. I usually use the summers for my travels to new and exciting places, where for the most part it’s cooler but also since it is a quieter time in Columbia and have kids in school; it’s a good time to go and see the world. I am not a big television watcher and have not succumbed to all the reality shows as I am not interested in other peoples’ lives and all the talent shows are fun; but give me a good Broadway show anytime with hard learned talent and terrific productions! When I do watch it’s usually crime stories with real actors and good plots where I can disappear for an hour in a story of partial truth that is usually heart wrenching. I cry very easily and a good story gets me each time.
That said, I love travelling in Europe and am a person who loves seeing all the places that fill our history books. My choice of reading is generally anything that is filled with historical facts and a good story so it’s usually a good fiction novel based on history. I lived in Germany for many years and am fascinated with stories of World War II and love good stories and stories about families and survival. One of my favorite books is Sarah’s Key. Some of my favorite reads are “The Invisible Bridge” by Julie Orringer, the books by Philippa Gregory about Henry the VIII and his many wives and the lifestyle and historical facts surrounding it, like “The Other Boleyn Girl”, “The Virgin Lover.” I can’t think of a more profound and moving film which says all of this like “Life is Beautiful” and “The Pianist.” A more recent film involving history and brilliantly done is “The Imitation Game.”
Stories filled with struggle, sacrifice and success also like The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls keep life in perspective and are fascinating reads. More books I have enjoyed are “The Sandcastle Girls”, “Having our Say”, “The Help”, “My Sisters Keeper”, and “Water for Elephants”,
Contrary to what most people would think, I don’t listen to Broadway soundtracks. I don’t like the feeling of having to concentrate and think I have to study something but just want the pleasure of listening. I am an R&B fanatic. Love Quincy Jones, Lou Rawls, George Benson, Lionel Richie, Al Jarreau, Pattie Austin and James Ingram, Natalie Cole, and can’t get enough of Whitney Houston and her amazing voice and some of the oldies like Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne and still love Diana Ross and the Supremes to sing along with.
And my all-time favorite is a good old piano bar with great jazz and a glass of wine looking at the ocean! Happy Summer!
Check out Gillian in her salad days!