Twelfth Night

Viola & Orsino and Sebastian & Olivia and Toby & Maria

On Thursday night, we attended the Shakespeare Festival in Forest Park. This year’s production is Twelfth Night. Along with Joanie, we braved both bad air and unusually cold temperatures, because the show must go on. Twelfth Night is a comedy that supposedly got its name, because it was first performed for Elizabeth during Christmastime and no better title came to Shakespeare’s mind. This Shakespeare comedy includes romance, humor, masqueraded identities, gender switching roles and lots of partying. Naturally then, this production was moved from its traditional European locale to Miami. With its live band, the show is heavily laden with Latin music, giving it along with the play’s many colorful costumes a distinct South Beach vibe.

At intermission, when the audience turned their phones back on, we were greeted with the news of the new inditements. Later, I learned that the perp walk was scheduled to also occur in Miami. Finally, following his inditements, the perp-in-chief lashed out at the special prosecutor and his wife, Katy Chevigny, the later whom he termed his biggest hater of all. I do not understand how Ms. Chevigny has incurred so much of his ire, because she is best known as a producer of the Michelle Obama documentary, Becoming, a film biography of Ms. Obama’s book tour for her autobiography of the same name. This morning, I watched this film. It mentions the perp by name only once, while Michelle is recounting their last night in the Whitehouse. Her daughters plead with her for an impromptu sleepover that night. She eventually relents, but not before warning her girls that they would need to be ready to go in the morning, because the Trumps are coming.

In Twelfth Night, by the end of the fifth act the confusion that propelled the play’s plot has been cleared. All the couples have been paired and after the curtain call, the audience is sent on its way to the beat of one more Latin musical number. If only real life could be so well scripted. Chevigny’s documentary was a joy to watch too. It was nice to be reminded of all the hope and joy that accompanied the Obamas. Especially, after what followed it.

A Man Called Otto

Married my father-in-law.

A Man Called Otto has dropped on Netflix. This is the Americanized film version of the Swedish novel, A Man Called Ove. I suggested to Harry that we watch the movie together, but he informed me that he had already seen it and did not like it. It was “too perfect,” whatever that means. I was surprised by that comment, because when Ove first hit the scene, I immediately thought of Harry and like everyone else in the family, he loved the book. Maybe he saw some of himself in Ove, maybe not. In truth, I am older than Ove, making Harry way too old to conflate him with Ove. In Otto, an even younger than me Tom Hanks plays the title character, assisted by his son as the young Otto in flashbacks. The movie’s reviews have been tepid, but I still blubbered through its ending.


Oscar for Dawn Patrol, Best Original Screenplay, John Monk Saunders, 1931

At the end of the Oscars, Jimmy Kimmel joked that last night’s telecast now makes one consecutive Academy Awards ceremony without incident. How about a high five?!? Slap! Discounting of course Elizabeth Banks almost tripping on her long dress while walking on stage and then followed by her very hoarse presentation of the special effects award. Still, it was a pleasant show, as award shows go. Last night was the 95th Academy Awards ceremony.

I got the pic for this post at the Boeing’s Museum of Flight in Seattle. The original recipient, John Monk Saunders, writer, and longtime Seattle resident was awarded this statue in 1931. It is one of 3,000+ Oscar statues to have been awarded all told. In 1927 the first awards ceremony took all of fifteen minutes. Last night’s show clocked in at just over three hours. Still, it finished almost on time, a rarity by today’s standards. The statue has changed little since its beginning, with only minor changes to its base having been made. This statuesque stability reaps unforeseen benefits in modern times. Nowadays, many awards are shared among multiple individuals, requiring the live distribution of an unknown number of multiple Oscars. The Academy can order more than they need and save any extras for next year’s show. Up until 1950 each statue was the uncontested property of the award recipient, but since then the Academy has stipulated that they get the right of first refusal on any sale and the sale price that the Academy must pay is only a dollar. Any award recipient who refuses to sign this contract does not get to take their statue home. 

We Have a Ghost

We Have a Ghost

A black family of four trying to make a fresh start, buy an old, dilapidated house in Chicago. One night, the younger son, Kevin hears noises from the attic and then soon learns that they are not alone. At first, Earnest, the resident ghost, so named by his monogramed bowling shirt, tries to scare Kevin, but only succeeds in making him laugh. Filming Earnest with his phone, Kevin tells him, “Hey, hey, stop. It is not happening bro. I know, it probably worked on everyone else before, but my personal life is like a thousand times scarier than this.”

Earnest cannot speak and does not remember anything from his former life. His circumstances lead Kevin to want to help this sad sack, but otherwise friendly ghost. All this commotion soon brings Kevin’s older brother to the attic. Seeing the video on Kevin’s phone, his brother posts it to social media. Kevin’s dad then sees the video and sees an opportunity to monetize this situation. By this time Kevin and Earnest have develop a rapport and both of them take a dim view to Kevin’s dad’s schemes. The videos of Earnest blow up on social media, leading to a neighborhood circus out in the street in front of the house.

A basic cable TV personality is invited by the dad to come to the house to film Earnest, but instead is so off putting that she leads Earnest to scare her out of the house. The older son films this encounter making Earnest a media phenomenon. Piling on now, a CIA agent gets wind of Earnest and sees in him an opportunity to revive her top-secret paranormal program that had been shut down. Kevin continues to research Earnest’s past which leads to a road trip, and we are off to the races. We Have a Ghost is described as a family-friendly horror comedy and is based on a short-story called Earnest (Pay wall).

Bird Brain Behavior

I like birds. I like them because sometimes they are regal, sometimes they are just pretty and sometimes they are silly. Take the case of this Rufous-collared Sparrow that was exhibiting some classic bird brain behavior. Perched on the sideview mirror of our van, it kept attacking its own image in the mirror. It is almost as if it was having an argument with itself, “I’m the pretty bird!” “No, I’m the pretty bird!” This repeated often enough that I was able get photos of both sides of this dispute. No telling though who eventually won.

We did go see the movie 80 for Brady last night and while I can safely say that none of the Oscar winning women starring in this film will be further embellishing their reputations with another award from this vehicle, it was an enjoyable movie to watch. The audience was small, but heck it is February, and it was cold out. I am pretty sure that the “true story” at the heart of this movie departed from reality at about the time these golden girls arrived in Houston for the 2017 Superbowl game between the Patriots and the Falcons. I remember watching this game on TV and I was at the time among the Tom Brady hating supermajority. I must say that I was dismayed with their comeback victory. In the movie Brady was as emotionless as ever, but with such a great supporting cast he acquitted himself adequately. How is that for faint praise?

One of the best recurring bits in the show is the running dialog throughout the movie between Brady and Lilly Tomlin who plays the “quarterback” for her team of octogenarians. He offers her encouragement with overcoming the many obstacles that she faces in life and just getting to the game. She repays the favor, late in the third quarter, when the Patriots are “down by a lot.” She gives him a better-late-than-never halftime pep talk, which turns the game around. For you still unconvinced Brady-haters out there, Anne spied in the credits that like many of his costars, Tom Brady had his own personal hairstylist, while Sally Field who plays a woman that worked for MIT did not.

80 for Brady

Photo by Cian Leach on Unsplash

On this frigid February Friday, we went to the movies. This is the first time since the start of the pandemic that we have gone to see a movie, in public, in the company of strangers. We have been to the theater plenty of times to see live actors perform, but this is the first time that we have ventured to a movie house since the before times. What with streaming why risk it? So, what Oscar candidate drew us out? Hardly, 80 for Brady was our choice. Earlier this week, I texted the kids and wished them all a happy Groundhog’s Day. I also warned them not to get caught in any time loops. Maren responded with, “too late, already happened, because Tom Brady retired again.” In hindsight his choice of timing on this announcement probably had a lot to do with this movie, because he stars in it and is also a producer. In this comedy, four Academy Award winners, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Sally Field, and Rita Moreno play four real life Boston octogenarians who convened many years ago to comfort one of their number who was undergoing chemo. A broken TV remote meant the set was stuck on the Boston Patriots game where a then young Tom Brady made his Pro football debut as a third string replacement quarterback. The girls fell in love with their man and watching him over the years became a ritual for them. Fast forward to 2017 where the movie is set and Brady is once again headed to the Superbowl, to face the Atlanta Falcons. Then, Brady was 40, which is like 80 for football players, as we are told. He did eventually play on after 2017 to become the oldest starting quarterback ever. This time rather than watching the game on TV the four ladies decide that they are going to go see the big game in person. By the time this post publishes, we will be seated at the Esquire. Stay tuned…