This past Wednesday I did my duty!
I traveled to Staten Island to tidy up and say a few prayers at my parents’ graves. Refreshing my bonds with my mother and father is always pleasurable and meaningful to me. No matter what is done, the weeds keep coming in and popping up, uninvited on the gravesite.
From September through early November at the Fire Island Hawk Watch, migrating raptors are counted daily and the data is eventually shared with researchers worldwide. I go once a week, but not just to help spot and identify birds. I go for the excitement, the feast of images and for the moments when the words “this is why I come,” ring silently in my head.
Today, I would like to discuss a topic near and dear to the hearts of citizens over 60. It is the subject of PILLS. You know, those little, expensive things you buy at CVS and swallow every morning upon awakening and before you put on your pajamas in the evening.
In Francesca Carlow, who is running for State Senate in the 6th District on Long Island, we have a very unique candidate. She is your “everyday woman,” who got involved because she thought she found a better way to help her community. Francesca is running without the backing of either party and is running as an independent Democrat. She is so independent that Bill Murphy of Newsday wrote of her “… if Carlow can beat Hannon, the senate would have a new member beholden to neither party,” (Newsday, Sept. 2.)
I have never considered myself a reviewer. But if I like a play, movie or opera, I do love to tell people about it. Talking about a production usually winds up in a profound discussion of the major points, positive or negative. I do enjoy these back-and-forth, stimulating conversations.
Last week, we saw the play Time Stands Still for my birthday. It was a wonderful birthday present! The play was written by Donald Margulies and it starred one of my favorite actresses, Laura Linney. In my humble opinion, Laura Linney and Meryl Streep are the two best actresses today of the American stage and cinema.
Ms. Linney has appeared in The Savages with Philip Seymour Hoffman and with Liam Neeson in the movie Kinsey. She received Oscar nominations for both. She also starred as Abigail Adams in John Adams, for which she won a Golden Globe and an Emmy.
In this drama, she plays a wartime journalist who enters the stage with crutches and a knee brace, for wounds she received in combat in Afghanistan. She is only alive when in a battle zone on foreign soil. Her boyfriend tries to tame her into a marriage and conventional life, but she is unwilling. Only four actors were in the performance.
Other great performances were by Eric Bogosian, Christina Ricci and Brian D’Arcy James. Margulies’ other plays that I have seen were Brooklyn Boy and Dinner With Friends. He writes crackling, authentic dialogue and his characters are all true to life. He is a master.
Last Saturday at noon, the Brush Hollow Theater did a simulcast of Boris Godunov from the Metropolitan Opera. The theater was filled with gray-haired opera enthusiasts. The cinema was packed and I was lucky to get a seat.
The opera by Modest Mussorgsky is an actual historic part of Russian history. It takes place in the year 1598. The people of Russia are starving, and they yearn for Boris Godunov to become Tsar. At first he refuses, but he relents and the bells ring for his coronation.
There is doubt as to whether Boris is the rightful Tsar, as some claim that he has killed the true heir Dmitry, a young boy. A pretender to the throne arises named Grigory. Grigory escaped to Lithuania and when Boris learns of him, he is deeply shaken. He imagines he sees Dmitry’s ghost, and he prays for forgiveness.
The ruler with an evil secret reminded me of Macbeth. The cast of the opera were all Russians, except for Rene Pape, a German who has learned Russian. We saw the opera at the same time as the audience at the Met. However, the camera showed facial expressions to us that were not available to the crowd at the Met.
The conductor was Valery Gergiev and the cast was magnificent. The opera ends with the pretender replacing Boris as Tsar. It was a powerful, touching view of Russian history.
I promise my readers- no more reviews! They take too much out of me!
It’s just wrong. Secret campaign cash should have no place in our American democracy. But now we are seeing huge sums of money from secret sources going into campaign advertising. Special interests are spending millions and millions of dollars in this election and it threatens to drown out the voices of individual voters. And because of changes in the law, there are no disclosure requirements- even foreign government corporations could be funding these ads.
Last week was a movie and play extravaganza!
Lorraine and I saw three movies and one play on consecutive nights. All four of these attractions were worthwhile, although they were worlds apart in their storyline and dramatic presentation.
1. The Social Network
The story of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, played ably by Jesse Eisenberg. We are thrust into Harvard in 2003 in a dark, melancholy time in Zuckerberg’s life. He is a sophomore on the lowest level of the social stratifications. We see him as super-bright but obnoxious. His jerky actions drive him away from Erica, a lovely, intelligent girl whom he desires. Computers are his life and he speaks like a computer, in short bursts. He is hostile to his environment as a method of self-defense. I was also impressed by the acting of Justin Timberlake who played Sean Parker, founder of Napster. We see the outsider as he succeeds and yet fails.
2. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
The old Woody Allen at his storytelling best. His venue is now London. An older couple has divorced after 40 years of marriage. He (Anthony Hopkins) chases and eventually marries a swinging younger girl, and she takes him for a ride. The wife (Gemma Jones), whose sparkling blue eyes represent eternal optimism, believes in fortune telling and seeks the tall, dark stranger. She finds a short, blond man and they go off happily together.
I was intrigued by their daughter (Naomi Watts), who is very beautiful. She is married to Josh Brolin (an unsuccessful novelist.) There is Allen’s usual bitter look at life, but the movie is fun.
3. The Town
Ben Affleck directed and starred in this crime story about a gang of thieves in Charlestown, Boston. The tension of the viewer being present during this bank hold-up is quite thrilling to the senses. The romance angle is interesting as Affleck and the bank-manager, who was his hostage, have a romance. Charlestown is a neighborhood with a long tradition of blue-collar crime. An exciting and well-done movie, and Affleck did a great job in his first effort.
Answers to last week’s movie quotes:
1. Shane- Brandon De Wilde (1953)
2. A Streetcar Named Desire- Marlon Brando (1951)
3. Citizen Kane- Orson Welles (1941)
4. Grand Hotel- Greta Garbo (1932)
5. Gone With the Wind- Vivien Leigh (1939)
6. Apollo 13- Tom Hanks (1995)
7. White Heat- James Cagney (1949)
8. The Wizard of Oz- Judy Garland (1939)
9. Sunset Boulevard- Gloria Swanson (1950)
10. To Have and Have Not- Lauren Bacall (1944)
I hope my readers enjoyed the movie quotes. I know I did!
Due to a typographical error, an incorrect e-mail address was printed in the last column. However, some of my readers persevered and managed to get the correct answers to me.
In September I watched the annual fall migration in three different places on the Island and Queens: a marsh, a hawk observation platform and a wildlife refuge. This is how that busy week unfolded.
Quotes From the Cinema
The movies just keep pouring forth from Hollywood.
They have become an integral part of our lives.
Even in our current political campaign, we are treated to the famous, galvanizing Peter Finch quote from the 1976 movie Network. “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” That saying captured the feelings of America at that time.
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