Tale of a Movie Critic

For many years, the city in which I live hosted a film festival. Actually, it hosts several,  but the most established one was created and run by a friend of my husband. Several larger cities tried to “buy” it from the founder, but he wouldn’t give it up. The festival featured old movies. It drew a wide range of people from all over the world, including a Famous Movie  Critic. My husband owned several books by this movie critic, who also had his own syndicated TV program. Several people who contributed to his books also attended the festival. While I never met the Famous Movie Critic, I did become friends with the others. We went to baseball games together.

My husband always attended the film festival either alone or with his friends, while I stayed home and did the solo parent thing.

One evening, the children and I were on a quest for saxophone reeds when my cell phone–a very early version of one–rang. This was before talking on a cell phone was illegal in this state. It was my husband. “Famous Movie Critic wants the Turkey Buffet, and I can’t remember how to get there.” My husband’s sense of direction does sometimes leave much to be desired.

“Where are you?” I asked.

“In my car with Famous Movie Critic. I’m using Contributor’s cell phone.”

Wonderful. I’m in rush-hour traffic with our children in my car, the music store where I hoped to buy saxophone reeds was closing soon, and I’m supposed to give directions to a restaurant my husband should know how to find when he didn’t even know where he was. This restaurant was not difficult to find: the Interstate to the correct exit, then turn left at the end of ramp, then right at the next traffic light.

We managed to get everything straightened out, including the sax reeds. Famous Movie Critic got his Turkey Buffet. My husband got a tale to tell about how he got lost with Famous Movie Critic.

 

A Tale of Two Earrings

I lost one of a favorite pair of earrings last summer. I searched everywhere for it. Every placed I’d been that day at Day Job. My car. Every place I’d stepped or sat at home.  I tossed the widowed earring into a container on my bureau. Periodically I would see it and think I should dispose of it, but I somehow managed not to.

The seasons changed. I wore my fall/spring coat when temperatures required it. I drove to work everyday. I had the car inspected. I made a road trip to a friend’s house in a nearby city for a writing day. I made another road trip to another nearby city with my husband to visit a museum of interest to us.

One chilly morning late this summer, I pulled on my jacket, hopped in my car, and drove to my parents to take them to an appointment. When we came out of the house to get into the car, I discovered the missing earring hanging through the fabric on the back of the driver’s seat. Facing the steering wheel. You know, where I’d sat nearly every day for a year.  Yes, it had been a couple of months since I’d worn that coat, but I had worn it. Repeatedly. Through fall and spring.

Perhaps there’s a black hole or a time warp in my car. Regardless, the earrings are happily united, and I wear them with pleasure.

 

Movie: The Flower of My Secret

My husband said, “It’s about a romance author.” So we watched it.

This 1995 Spanish film is about the falling-apart life of a famous, best-selling romance author. The opening is freely based on a short story by Dorothy Parker. Miles Davis composed the soundtrack.

  • The main character, Leo, wants to expand her repertoire. Her publisher wants her romance novels. They reject her “darker” work, saying it violates her contract.
  • Her marriage is disintegrating.
  • A script she wrote and threw away has been made into a movie–without her knowledge or permission.
  • The people on whom she thought she could depend either betray or abandon her.

The film is filled with interesting characters, passion, and even some melodrama. There are incidents you see coming; plot twists you may not.  It is in Spanish, with subtitles.

Four stars.

Books about Writers

Image credit: andrejad / 123RF Stock Photo

I am preparing to make a major change in my life. I’ve been thinking about it for over a year.  I’ve been imagining what my new life will look like.

In my reading, I came across two books that prompted further research on the topic of What Does a Full-time Author’s Life Look Like?

The first one I read was Hemmingway’s A Moveable Feast. This was non-fiction. Then, as I was re-reading an old favorite, In the Midnight Rain  by Barbara Samuel, I realized the heroine of this novel was a full-time author.  Both books mentioned the writing schedule.

So I Googled/Goodreads-ed “books about writers” to see what I could glean. The answer: not much.

I read: The Accidental Tourist (Anne Tyler); Swimming Home (Deborah Levy); Cakes and Ale (Somerset Maugham).  Not what I was looking for. Then I re-read other books on my shelf and stumbled across more authors mentioning their writing schedules: Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence and Toujours Provence;  Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes. John Mortimer writes a novelist character in Paradise PostponedThe World According to Garp (John Irving). And of course Stephen King’s On Writing, The Shining, and Bag of Bones. I waded through The Brontes by Juliet Baker, which was a mistake because I’m looking for glimpses of a writing life, not an analysis of one.

Any suggestions?

Capitol Theatre Restoration

My husband and I are “friends” of a 1928 movie house in a nearby city. TV Stevie has attended their annual film festival since its inception. I started attending with him several years ago.

Due to the pandemic, the 2020 festival was postponed for a year.

A year off, right? Nope.

Using a $2.5 million dollar grant from the state, theater management used the “closed” time to renovate the theater to its 1939  appearance.  1939 was the year the theater received its original face lift. The result is stunning.

Gone are the white paddle fans someone installed on ceiling, along with the peeling paint & plaster. The hand-painted fabric wall covering is still in the process of being restored by a local artist and her paint brushes. The seats have been reupholstered in the same fabric used in 1939. Even the carpeting has been replaced by new carpeting remade to the original 1939 specifications by the same company. The lights in the overhead dome have been repaired.  I list only a few of the many refreshed items.

The original 1928 Moeller theatre organ also got an overhaul.

When we attended the grand reopening of the theatre back in July, I had a chance to really listen and see the organist, David Peckham, in action. Always before, the organ was the accompaniment to a movie or was played during intermissions during the festival. At the grand reopening, there was a concert to show off the organ. The spotlight was on the manuals.

The money was well spent. The folks at the Capitol Arts Complex are doing great things to revitalize their city’s downtown.