Historically, logically even, enlightenment followed the Dark Ages. First the Dark Ages after which follows the Age of Enlightenment… dark and then light… get it?!
I’m not talking about those kind of ages… eras… I am talking chronological ages. Like I’m 86. Really???? Reallly!!!! That kind of age.
I am at the age/stage when occasionally I actually peek out of my navel long enough to think – as the song of the same name goes, what’s going to happen, AFTER I’M GONE. Listen my friends, since 2016, I don’t hold too much hope for the last and coming years.
How many times have we heard these phrases?
The children are the hope of the future.
We will create a better world for our children.
The Children shall lead us out of the dark into the light.
How is that possible?
Leading the future towards a better world is out of the question. The children sit, walk, ride, bounce with their faces glued to their electronic instruments.
I think we would call that the blind leading the blind. So am I just another olden person intolerant of the youngen person.
My granddaughter Ellie Maza is 18 and a budding artist. She is bothered by the direction the world seems to be taking her and her “bother” takes the form of collages, photographs, recycled furniture and clothing depicting a world gone mad in its excesses.
I shall stop here and simply exhibit her photographs for your perusal.
I am inspired by her depiction of the world going mad. She is young. She is witness to the excess. She notes it to help others to see it. If enough people see it, might it curb our appetites and slow the disintegration.
If you find yourself whirling in the what feels like an endless cycle of your existentialness (don’t look it up it’s my word).
If your aging process is moving too fast, giving you physical grief so much so that you have lost count on the doctor visits.
If your HIGH ANXIETY wakes you in the middle of the night so your only recourse is to pop a pill or call a friend that you haven’t called before to senior-sit with you as you try to calm down.
And if you avoid any questions about what you are working on or if you baldly lie about your latest project, you need this movie.
My whole olden being is engaged in finding that which will engage my creative juices. You know what I mean… something that will make use of my still active and engaged mental equipment however saddled with a more rapidly aging body.
Of late, I have been exposed to what I would call coincidental “bashert” (the wonderful Yiddish word for destiny). The most recent examples being Almodovar’s new movie, wherein a famous director of past great movies is hobbled by aging health issues and loss of his muse. Welcome to The Club!
At this luncheon, a very brash and slightly callow youth of a writer (McPhee) dares to ask Wilder who is 66 at the time (an age that McPhee thought geriatric) what he is presently working on. Politely, Wilder tells him he is cataloguing the plays of Lope de Vega. McPhee thought and then asked Wilder, “Why would anyone want to do that?” The silence at the table was deafening. In fury, Wilder exclaimed. “Young man, do not ever question the purpose of scholarship.” My translation: Do not ever ask an artist what he is working on .
McPhee who is 88 now knows that those plays were serving to extend Thornton Wilder’s life. It was a project meant not to end.
I was led to that article and to the Almodovar movie because it is exactly what I needed to read and see.
I need my own Lope de Vega and my own muse restored. I think I’ll stop with the excuses and all the other blocks I put in my path towards my next creative move. The major hurdle I face is finding like minded younger and older artists who know what I am talking about and finding a way to support each other in our quests. I think when you are younger by the nature of your youthful strength you go it alone. I believe the artists journey is singular and lonely.
I do not think my discovering that older artists and their quest for relevancy (because really isn’t that what it’s all about…I’M STILL HERE!) is accidental.
Like I said before, I am experiencing coincidental beshart (love that word)…
If any of this makes any sense to you, I’d love to hear from you… if not, have another cup of tea and a fabulous day.
Listen, my friends I had to force myself to go and see it. Even after my daughter Lori made a special call to convince me to go. I put her recommendation into the back seat of my mind. I loved the recent Mr. Rogers documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor. What more was the movie going to show me? Nothing I did not already know. Right?
I was soooo wrong. It has nothing and everything to do with Mr. Rogers. And even though reviews have been very positive, from my point of view, none of the reviews touched on why today, more than at any other time in this world, everyone needs to see this movie.
Let me try to write how I experienced as I watched the movie unfold. From the opening, before the credits, a “lego-set “of a residential area of a nameless city (although if you know Pittsburgh, you recognize the three bridges that cross two rivers or is it three… I forget) and suddenly Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers walks into the set and begins to do the Mr. Rogers opening.
But, it is different from the one he usually does in his show as he introduces a picture board of different characters… most of whom you know from his show and one who you did not know, the writer who under duress and in anger has been assigned to do a profile on Mr. Rogers. From that very first moment, I was captured, captivated, you name it. I was had. The mystery, and it is a mystery of a plot unraveled.
A little background: I am in Florida. It was a rainy day. Perfect afternoon for the movies. And perhaps a dozen others thought the same thing. And from that very same beginning moment, this small audience breathed as one. I mean it. We all inhaled at the same time. We exhaled at the same time. No one moved a muscle… no popcorn munching. No slurping. No candy wrappers. We were all suspended in the one hour and 59 minutes of this movie.
Now I am not going into any more detail about the movie. You want to know how this story unfolds. Go to your movie house. I know it is playing there now.
By the end of the film, as the credits rolled, this small audience in a darkened theatre released their breath and applauded as if they were in a live show.
Why? They were moved. The cathartic emotional release of all was palpable. We had all, together, been part of an experience where anger and bile were transformed into love and forgiveness; released into the stratosphere by the catalyst of a vulnerable and fallible human named Fred Rogers.
What are you doing still sitting reading this? Get up. Get out. Get transformed.
Ok, here I go again having to swear off never saying never. I have always shouted loud enough for all to hear (didn’t need a microphone) that going to the live performances of the opera at a movie house just didn’t cut it. But here I am in sunny Florida (Sorry my Northern friends) and missing several desperate-to-see operas.
Well I get an announcement that Philip Glass’s opera, Akhnaten is coming to a local movie house Live in HD from the MET. Well I shortened my snobby nose, swallowed my boastful pride and bought a ticket. It was to begin at 1 pm and finish at 4:45 pm.
I alerted my friend Diana who dropped me off to be on call as I was pretty sure it would have to be brilliant to keep me in my seat all that time. Guess what? It kept me glued to my seat except for intermission bathroom breaks.
My dear friends it was and is brilliant! I’m not sure it fits being labeled an opera. It belongs to a new category of music and song and story and dance and juggling.
It is classical. It is history. It is dramatic. The music is as otherworldly as Glass usually is, but it is completely in sync with this era of an Egyptian ruler who created a new religion. A monotheistic one that worshipped The Sun God. Versailles came after the pyramids right?? Of course right!!
I had a perfectly gorgeous New York Cultural afternoon. The camera even gave me shots of NYC and the interior of the opera house. Of course, as I sat in my shorts and t-shirt I was not unaware of the winter clothing of the audience. They had my full sympathy. I am grateful to have been able to see an opera on my wish list.
However… that being said… For me it will never replace the live experience. I am not overly thrilled with all the interviews they use to fill the intermissions. It breaks mood. But Lynn (you are right) and all, I was and am grateful I was able to see it. And look forward to seeing Wozzek in January.
If anyone wants to come to Florida to go to the opera Live at the Met at the movies, let me know and I’ll get an extra ticket. Sorry no popcorn 🍿But how about a soupçon of caviar? I drink it all day!!!
My dear friends, I greet you this year at this time of the year and ask you to spread the joy. We could either focus on the negatives as the media, social and otherwise appear to do, or take this opportunity to go to the Spa of Life to share the elixir of peace and goodwill to one and all.
I don’t care what you think or what you believe as long as it is in and with LOVE it will help in healing the world.
I have this funny feeling that this is the American Year of Denial.
Think about it…
If we deny the troublemakers and naysayers and fearful their usual space in our heads, I predict we are going to have a great holiday.