Monday, February 23, 2009

there's no business like show business

All you need in the world is love and laughter. That's all anybody needs. To have love in one hand and laughter in the other.

I'm trying to take culture and put it onstage, demonstrate it is capable of sustaining you. There is no idea that can't be contained by life: Asian life, European life, certainly black life. My plays are about love, honor, duty, betrayal - things humans have written about since the beginning of time.
August Wilson (1945-2005) American writer

this weekend was a fabulous weekend for me in terms of film, screen, and tube. on saturday f and I went to the cedar-lee, cleveland's premier movie house for independent, foreign and specialty films, to watch the five live action shorts which were nominated for the oscars. this was a great call - what better way to spend a frigid saturday afternoon but traveling around the world in a cozy theater. it is a shame that more people don't have the opportunity to view short films. all five films were wonderful and each touched us deeply in it's own way. the film 'toyland' which won the oscar for best live action short, was well quite simply brilliant. saturday night f & I made homemade pizza and settled in for a cozy evening at home. we watched the documentary 'the rape of europa' which I had checked out of the library. the film was an incredible follow-up to a the moving and powerful novel 'the madonnas of leningrad' which my bookgroup recently finished.

a couple days ago susan discovered jitney, one of august wilson's century cycle plays, is still being performed in town - which is great, I thought it left and I missed it. so yesterday afternoon I joined s & p and we headed over to east cleveland to catch the matinee. this was the first time I attended a play at the east cleveland theater (ect). if the previous productions were like yesterday's, geez, I have been missing out! this year ect is celebrating it's 41st season. since 1970 it has been performing in the former windermere presbyterian church, a gothic style church built in 1896.

ect's motto is "a place where good things happen" - a motto that was operating in every aspect of our experience yesterday. the staff and volunteers were warm and friendly, the cast was superb, and the audience was enthusiastic and appreciative. I was also very heartened to find that the house was close to being packed, so often have we attended a stage performance only to find that there are more empty seats than filled seats. but I guess after 41 years in the area, the word is out ect is a place where good things happen!

attending yesterday's performance of jitney allows me to check another play off my bucket list for wilson's cycle- only four to go. of course, I'm not adverse to seeing the same play more than once, it is always interesting to see how a director and cast interpret and perform a particular play. yesterday's play was set in pittsburgh during the 1970s and focused on the lives of a group of men working at a gypsy cab station. not to be a spoiler, but I was pleased that wilson broke chekhov's gun rule and that the gun introduced was not fired! that's not to say, well I don't want to be a total spoiler......
like most folks last night I was glued to the tube and watched the oscars. this year I did meet my goal and saw all five films that were nominated for best picture. I give last night's extravaganza a big thumbs up.

nathan lane singing there's no business like show business from love's labour's lost (2000)

14 comments:

California Girl said...

I was glued to the Oscars last night as well. I have a fond attachment for the whole thing, wasteful as award shows are nowadays. It was an event every year, growing up in LA in the fifties & sixties. Funny, I just wrote a post reminiscing about going to the great old theatres in Hollywood & LA. I miss that so much. We now live in a rural area with tiny movie houses that don't do a thing for any of the movies they show. We wait for the Netflix debut. Not sure about getting short films that way but at least we get foreign films. Saw a great one the other night, "My Brother Is An Only Child."

R.L. Bourges said...

sounds like a great weekend.

And funny you should post that very song. I was thinking the very same thing at lunchtime. Having worked in that environment in a backstage capacity, I can tell you there were nights when an actor or actress showed up totally distraught over a personal tragedy, got into makeup, got into costume - and sailed out onstage to give their funniest performance ever.

(great tap dancing on that clip).

best, petite souris

Roy said...

Ah, Nathan Lane! I can't watch that guy without ending up with a sore stomach from all the laughing. Did you see him with Matthew Broderick in The Producers? Or with Robin Williams in Birdcage? Brilliant!

I don't own a TV, so I didn't see the Oscars. Looks like I didn't miss much - the results were a foregone conclusion. Everybody who was predicted to win, won. So I was just as well off getting the results on the news this morning.

distracted by shiny objects said...

Oscars...YES!! We all had Oscar Fever at work and could not wait to get home--well, we all couldn't wait to get home regardless and like the way Oscar Fever felt rolling off the tongue if you want to know the truth. But I love all the gitz and glamour of it. Loved the idea of the circle of past winners being on stage to honor the new nominees and it was not better done that Shirley McLaine speaking to Anne Hathaway. Hubby and I were wondering where we could see the documentaries and the short films. Will have to look more carefully in the paper, or we may have to come north and check it out:>)

tut-tut said...

You are so culturally on top of things! Lucky you to have such a wealth of venues there.

Merle Sneed said...

I have to admit that for the first time in a long time, I forgot about the Oscars. Generally I avoid them on purpose, but this time it was an accident.

Dot-Com said...

Sounds like a wonderful weekend, packed with events and entertainment. Hope you find new fun things to do for next weekend :-)

Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

We have a former Lutheran church in my neighborhood that looks a bit like ECT's home that is now a Buddhist temple, complete with a big fat, smiling Buddha in the glass-doored entry.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

cg - i'm spoiled living in the cleveland area with such access to wonderful films and live theater. surely if i lived in the country i would be quite dependent on netflix! thanks for the heads up on my brother is only child, title is familiar, but i havent' seen it.

rlb - twas a mighty fine weekend. only time i was involved in theater was in h.s. after that only as a patron....the show must go on is a good motto for life, methinks....

roy - i (heart) nathan lane...enjoyed both flicks you mentioned.... regarding birdcage the french (original version) is tres bonne.... or is it tres bon....rlb??no tv you are my hero, but sorry can't do it....i'm a victim of my generation, not to mention my family members would NOT abide by that!!

distracted....you need to move to cleveland! we got shorts, documentaries, film festivals, shit just about everything....and it's a great place for people in the h.c. field - however i don't know what hubby does.... i of course want people to move to cleveland as i love cleveland and want it to do more than survive!!!

tut - speaking of moving to cleveland, enuf said. hint, hint!!! we's go culture galore!!!!!!

merle - i am my mother's child....i (heart) the oscars, i (heart) movies....

dot-com - well i don't know about next weekend altho since i have a play date set up with an adorable 2 1/2 year old and his sister of 6 mos. i expect it will be mighty fine....thanks!

junk - i would like to check out your buddhist temple....

e said...

Kim,

From the way you describe Cleveland's arts and films, I think it gets a noxious rap in the press. All I ever see are stories about how poor the city is, how devastating the mortgage and housing mess has made things, etc.

I did not see the Oscars either. No Telly, but I'm more an indy buff.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

e - cleveland has a very vibrant arts and cultural scene. unlike many places I've lived, everything is very accessible and compared to most big cities the price of admission is reasonable if not down right cheap!

what you have heard about foreclosures, loss of jobs, and the extent and pervasiveness of poverty, is true. cleveland is suffering, perhaps more than most places. but suffering and taking hard hits is nothing new to cleveland. there is an oft quoted expression, which goes something like - you gotta be tough to live live cleveland. referring to both the weather and how cleveland fars when the economy 'goes south' (the economy going south is both metaphorically and literally correct, by the way).

toughness doesn't mean roughness; although cleveland does have it's share of crime, cleveland is extremely community oriented, friendly, and ever hopeful. in fact, during time of the underground railroad, the codename for cleveland was hope. aptly named then and still relevant today.

it's already been well established I'm a big booster of my adopted city.

in terms of population size over the years cleveland has shrunk considerably - but we are still a 'big city' in many regards even though population wise we are now below 500,000 for cleveland proper (in terms of the larger smsa of course the numbers are much greater with more people choosing to live in suburban and exurban communities.

cleveland also has a long history of being the butt of jokes and bad raps - you could say cleveland is the rodney dangerfield of american cities.

well, golly I seem to have written a dissertation in response to e's comment ....of course this does give me an idea for a future post

willow said...

I saw Rape of Europa on PBS not too long ago and was horrified at the extent of the destruction of art by the Nazis. I couldn't believe how much art was actually burned!!

e said...

Kim,

Thanks for the lengthy comment. That also gives me ideas for future postings as well.

BTW, have you read any good books on the history of your home city???

mouse (aka kimy) said...

willow - glad the documentary aired on pbs....i should pay more attention to their schedule!

e - last summer i read a terrific novel called 'crooked river burning' by mark winegardner - although it is a novel it is all about cleveland politics and history (well 20th century cleveland)....there is an online encyclopedia of cleveland history which is terrific and i am a frequent reader of.....