Browsing Category

Headlines

Lessons in readiness

By March 31, 2020 Headlines, Life

Something has shifted. The earth has struck back. Exacting breathlessness, it has asserted its demand to breathe. From animal to human the virus jumps, as if to demonstrate the indivisibility of life and death on a small planet. The technology perfected for the rich to globalize their advantages has also created the perfect mechanism for globalizing the panic that sends portfolios into a free fall. Do things differently at the other end of this scourge, some mystic voice murmurs, do them more equitably, more ecologically, with greater respect for the environment, or you will be smitten again. Next time the internet will collapse. The passage from real world to virtual world to no world will then be complete. It is not easy to resist such thoughts, and perhaps they should not be resisted, for that would be to learn nothing.

Roger Cohen, A Silent Spring (New York Times)

Day 19: What have I learned?

I can live in the now.

So, perhaps we have lost anticipation in this pandemic. Perhaps we have lost the everyday juice we drink to map out wants and desires? I’m ready, aren’t I?

Prior to any lockdowns, visiting my mother in longterm care in the past few months had given me some facility in grasping the moment at hand. There is nothing else there on offer. There is no tomorrow with dementia. There is only now. Mom and I share a peanut butter cup I scooped up at the volunteer-run tuck shop downstairs, and together watch an old black and white film. We agree there are few better combos than peanut butter and chocolate. I stroke her hair—still fine, now bone-straight grey— tucked back in a borrowed hairband instead of her signature blonde backcomb. She responds well to this touch, beams a silent thank-you to me. In the end, she doesn’t speak much. Smiles. Listens. Responds with one or two-word answers. Hugging is its own language; indeed my first language, my most fluent language even as I have learned over time to converse with those with lukewarm settings who do not share my mother tongue.
When the attendants come to manoeuver her walker to dinner, I help her to stand, and then wrap my arms around her. It is all. It has to be enough.

If there are no longer anticipatory twinges, I can cope. With Mom, there are no days of the week either. There is just now. I’m used to this. I am ready.

Except now I cannot hold her.

All human touch is now governed (by necessity) by pandemic rules. Like all of us, Mom and all her peers in long term care can no longer have visitors. The exhausted workers there have unimaginable limits on their time but have worked out a schedule where they will assist residents to come to the window. All we have is a ten-minute window to wave at Mom. Is this part of ambiguous loss? We have lost so much already.

Yes, I can walk with a friend. Our voices carry across the mandatory divides. Yes, I can organize neighbourhood driveway hangouts. We smile and offer solace— and try to discern if any neighbour needs help with anything—and while it is all a strange and new kind of togetherness, we find our usual jocularity. Yes, I can accept a series of invitations to see faces in boxes on my screen for work, for fitness, for family meetings. I started up a new Facebook group: Bakers in a Dangerous Time, and other new creative collaborations with neighbours and friends because Let’s Make Up a Story is my password and it’s better than the one we’re living with now.

I am grumpy about technology hugs even as I adapt as human beings have done since we stood up. Who says I want to become facile at Zoom? I am not ready.

Being inside my home for hours and hours doesn’t scare me.

Extroverts can’t work alone. Really? Reductive boxes are lazy. I’ve been working alone for years since I left the newsroom. It’s me, my coffee cup, and the draft on the page. This is what writers do, give or take the odd collaborative lifeline. Putting up with my angsty writing gaps is Lucy’s job.

Housekeeping does not daunt me either. Once I ran a household and grew some kids up and out. Now I am tucking bedsheet corners in, with my guy who, in a previous life, was surely a royal housekeeper, if sarongs were allowed as a uniform. Or a jester. We are rich in quips, if nothing else, and cookbooks I refused to throw out in House Purges 1 through 11. His setting is always set to Hug. High up there, alongside his laundry pile of neatly folded clothes, is a deep sense of reward in the work we’ve put into this, this life now threatened by an invisible enemy. This is the payoff. We get to stick this out together and he is learning (finally) what I do all day, just as I am listening to his frequent work calls now on our walks together. Somedays, we are short with one another, and long on many others. We are sad and then we laugh. We know how to do this. There is never a bad time to keep learning.

A year ago, it was how to bake a croissant. Will we ever leave the house again? Check back when Spring shows up. The real Spring. Canadians know the difference.

We are ready.

Our kids are away from us, one in another city, and the other, in another continent. All of our plans to be together are no longer possible in the near future, in the imminent future, in the…what is the future?

I miss my dad even as I know he would have suffered surely in this terrible chaos. I miss my lucid mom who would have laughed along with me at the two red cardinals dancing around my yard. I miss my father-in-law who never ran out of soap. Our days fold into one another and some days are this: Husband and Wife sitting on the couch and saying: we miss our people. Every day. Sadness is a new houseguest… and now this? Dreams now are wild and fanciful and I have lost sense of weekdays and weekends…they have just slipped into a March puddle. Stars on my calendar to mark spectacular achievements have been removed. My watch broke. The little latch fell off although it is still running. I looked at the thing and screamed: you motherfucker, that is a poor joke.

I’m not ready. We are not ready.

The playgrounds and dog parks have yellow tape around them. Every day, small deaths.

I’m not ready.

It’s easy to reject some mindsets: my stress is the only stress. I have it worse than you.

Instead, it’s an easy yes to any and all of the initiatives to form communities of compassion (my film nerd heart bleeds for artists); to applaud the heroic essential workers who are keeping us alive, keeping us fed, keeping us in our cocoons of civility. I marvel at the daily communication briefs delivered by government officials with a calm I can barely muster in my relative safety. In a previous chapter in a television newsroom, I learned how fast news cycles work. This Big Germ now is supersonic speed and yet, there they are, doing their jobs with persistent professionalism. Don’t listen to the news, say, well-meaning friends. Who needs it? I’ve given up on it. It’s all bad news. I don’t listen to it, I can find it all on Twitter, on SNL, on Colbert, by myself. Really? Journalism, like healthcare, has never been more crucial. Learn which ones to trust and never stop following their reasoned threads, even if it’s in smaller, tolerable doses.

While working as a producer in that newsroom, I was a longtime member of the company’s pay equity committee where we examined each sector of our operation and how responsibility and stress were measured. That experience has never left me and afforded me precious insight into systems I never see from the quiet of my writing perch. There, mostly invisible from all the clamor, I try to make sense of it all, occasionally pacing, always pondering.

Like you, Anxiety sits at our breakfast table. Will our daughters be okay? Will they get sick? Parenting adult children is another setting on the dial.

Can we pay our bills? The echo rings around the world.

All of us are floating in the unknown. Some of us are going to fall off the edge and others will get a hand up. There are millions and millions of stories and most of them are worse than yours. We are all someone.

That I know this means I’m ready.

That I love makes me unready.

You, dear readers, are more important than ever. I feel you somewhere out there. Drop me a line.

You Might Also Like

And so it goes…

By January 13, 2020 Film, Headlines, Performance

It really is hard to imagine something you can’t see.

Greta Gerwig, writer/director, Little Women

68% male. 84% white. That’s how these Oscar 2020 nominations went down; that is the group who nominates and votes. That is how films like The Farewell are ignored.

Diversity will only happen when that body of membership changes.

To become an Academy member, artists need professional credits.

To build credits, they need to find work. To find work, they need someone to give them a chance and look past gender, skin colour (and boob size) and see human potential.

Change starts at the gate marked Enter Here.

Change is also only possible when critical bodies stop echoing bad choices from one another so unworthy, boring and utterly non-essential films cease receiving recognition, no matter how relentless a marketing campaign. Yes, I’m looking at you, The Irishman.

We see you and we hear you, Old White Guys of the Academy. We get it. You don’t want to be forgotten. We will always have your stories. They are burned forever in our collective consciousness. Your 2020 choices reflect your panic. But you still have the chance to do the right thing. Vote for Parasite.

The future is here. You can open the gate or you can just watch it being crashed by exciting new mediums and storytellers from every corner of the planet.




You Might Also Like

No one gets to steal our joy. Not now. Not ever.

By June 18, 2019 Headlines, Life

Elusive as ever, joy was still ours to be had in Toronto yesterday. It took a sporting match to make that happen and one other key ingredient in that mass celebration on parade through the downtown core: accessibility. Over and over again, fans were to be heard gushing over “our team.” It was the story of our neighbourhood streets and that neighbourhood is global. Everyone owned a piece of the Raptor’s championship. We felt close to it, felt it was ours. Millions of fans had access to refracted glory.

I was a point guard in Scarborough growing up. All the children of immigrants- Vietnamese, Asians, Black, Brown, we all played religiously so it is really special to now be with my fellow Canadians and be celebrating together. Everyone in Canada knows each other. We are one big family.

Omer Aziz, author

I played basketball too —badly—for a brief inglorious spell in high school and don’t pretend any grasp of the sport’s mechanics. Nor did I watch it much until these championships lit up and I began to peer closely at this group of talented athletes. Such power! Such poise! And for this hockey fan, such spectacular restraint under the most intense stress. I was won over by the manner in how this Raptors winning team played the sport, rather than the sport itself. So yes, I too sped downtown last Thursday night and high-fived in the wee hours with my daughter (who played basketball for years) and my other half, a fan since the origin of the Raptors. That’s him in the grainy photo, playing in the streets of Kensington Market. They were both there yesterday here in Toronto, making their way through those happy throngs. We were all there in spirit. Communal moments are as rare as perfect sleeps in this digital era.

Our collective glory held the day until some thieves tried to steal it with a gunshot scattering through a sea of peaceful humans. For those injured, a horrific moment. For those in the stampede, a panic sure to cause future sleepless nights. But these criminals were apprehended by quick thinking cops. Most of the crowd were not affected; thousands and thousands of fans dancing down the streets still turned their faces to the sun.

Fleeting as it is, joy can not be stolen. It was ours. We would do well to mark it. Bring our joy globes out to marvel and remember. There will be shadows again, but that moment is now embedded in our collective history. Age affords us this wisdom or why else are all the old folks grinning their wrinkled smiles to themselves? Someday that will be me, remembering the boys with their cigars and champagne splashing out in a spray over all of us. For the briefest moment, turning us all into bubbles.

For more reading:

Refracted glory belongs to parents too at this time of year.

You Might Also Like

Kingdom come

By April 22, 2019 Film, Headlines

Next Sunday’s Game of Thrones episode, known by those who made it as The Long Night, took 11 weeks to shoot, all at night and will be the longest episode in Game of Thrones history. According to Collider, it will also feature the longest continuous battle sequence ever put to film. I will need fortification to watch it, unlike last night, where I nursed my sadness over my favourite hockey team’s playoff loss, with a belly full of mini chocolate eggs.

(Read: You’re never too old for egg hunts)

Next week is Greek Easter where my inlaws and their relations will eat (delicious) lamb. Wine will be my main course if I am going to watch beloved characters fall to the White Walkers.

I loved this past Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones. It was epic without all the touted violence to come, epic because Brienne was knighted and her smile that followed was the best thing on the small screen this week even if you lined up all the hats in the Easter Parade movie I watch every year. There just isn’t that kind of moment on what is increasingly garden variety Netflix. Sorry binge watchers. That moment comes after deep investment by millions of fans and all those HBO creatives who make magic. Epic because Sam and his sword hand over, giving question to the fan theory that he will survive the battle at Winterfell and be the scribe who captures all of this story for future generations. Epic because little Arya finally got some (nookie). Epic because characters sitting around a fire musing about their death offers chances for scriptwriters to bring powerful poignant pauses to what has always been a horrifying violent series. Epic because it ended with Florence and The Machine’s Florence Welch singing over closing credits.

Who is your favourite character? How do you see the show ending?

You Might Also Like

Paris is all mise en scène.

By April 16, 2019 Headlines, Life, Travel
mise en scène at one of the booths at this year’s Paris Art Fair

Drop yourself anywhere in Paris and your immediate view is a film set lit avec plaisir for even the weariest heart. Each step forward, backward, and around a fabled corner and still the same miraculous mise en scène. How can we not stop and embrace right there in the middle of the street? Are we not directed to by this very stage? How can we not revisit those leaner frames we inhabited once? We were here decades ago when I ignored parental protests and scampered about these very streets with my Sorbonne student-boyfriend and considered (with great sobriety) never returning home. Paris does that to you.

The pastry shops do that to you. The chocolatiers are no mere extras either but take their proud place centre stage. There are hundreds and hundreds of food artisans in Paris and patience will get you a taste test in the middle of a charming square while your traveling companion (crazed wife) drags you from neighbourhood to neighbourhood for sinful samples. (Check back later this week in this space for my favourites)

Dining in this city is notorious for a few things: snippy service (I experienced nothing but gracious welcomes), beaucoup wine (who needs water?) and status as a UNESCO world intangible heritage. In 2010, the UN cultural organization singled out French gastronomy worthy of the same kind of protection as historically significant sites or natural wonders. Certainly, the foie gras ravioli I experienced at the historic Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie in Les Halles (‘tasting’ is too boring. Here we “experience” the food) was worthy of some kind of protection from overeager dining companions. As was the grilled duck and asparagus cooked for us another evening by our host; dear friends whose idea of hospitality was champagne and strawberries as evening starters to set the mood at sparkling and fluffy warm croissants with coffee and melon from their local market waiting for our sleepy morning kitchen entrances. I’m in, merci beaucoup and Ooh La La and that’s all the French I can remember until you pour me another glass.

Paris in spring means Paris and people. All of them wearing les baskets that are not the runners you are wearing right now to walk the dog.

Every kind of tourist is here along with us but the city holds these players with grace. We joined a few in a pastry class as we learned how to fold the dough encased in blocks of butter. Huge blocks of butter. Did I say yet that I love this city?

We mingled among them as we oogled the Impressionist Masters and wondered how we could go back in time (okay this was just me wondering) and warn these models in painters studios that someday their bodies would be out of fashion and tell them that’s just one way the world has lost its way.

We walked by them splayed out on lawns with their wine glasses the night we came to see the Eiffel Tower do its hourly dazzle. (Paris by night. Yup. It’s all true).

We joined them in the procession into Notre Dame, and formed a hushed collective as we stared up into the glorious soaring space. No one is tacky here: we are all immediately humbled, whatever our belief systems, for this iconic cathedral has always been a living monument, one revitalized by writer Victor Hugo.

The greatest products of architecture are less the works of individuals than of society; rather the offspring of a nation’s effort, than the inspired flash of a man in genius…

Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

That any of it would ever be gone wasn’t even a whisper. That I tried my hardest to ignore the rules about photography but failed when I saw this Joan of Arc statue…well I’m glad I did today as I look at those stunning images of flames and mourn along with the rest of the world as this spectacular mise en scène is blackened with smoke.

Paris, like my home town, has other smudges. On our first day of many walkabouts (my calves are as tight as my beltlines) we were stopped and searched and not permitted to walk along her most glamorous avenue thanks to recent rioting by the “Yellow Vest” protestors: their outcry continues as it highlights problems France has wrestled with for many years. That their protests involve violence is sure to affect Parisians and tourists alike. Parisians are not tilted by any of it. Today at least, there is solidarity and support over a landmark known around the world.

We flew to Paris en route to London. Along the way, we met up with these two, who are currently students in all things Euro, and proceeded to explore that ancient city for days on end. Check back in this space for my Best of London when I’ve recovered.

PS: Je t’aime, Mark. Je t’aime, Kazumi. Je t’aime Connor (and of course, Buddy!) Forget the boulevards, the Arc, the museums and the Art Fair. Forget the tower. Forget the artisanal wonders. You guys are the best in the city.

You Might Also Like

Oscar Countdown: Wolfgang, is it worthy?

By February 23, 2019 Headlines, Recipes

Wolfgang Puck is in charge of Oscar sweets this Sunday. I propose this one, a classic combination if there ever was one. This is for the chocolate orange fans. The rest of you can go play with the other kids in the playground. Read More

You Might Also Like

Oscar countdown: the also-rans

By February 21, 2019 Film, Headlines, Performance

Lots of the audience watching awards shows want their winners to be films with a certain gravitas.  But is there really high art and low art? Or just good movies?

Read More

You Might Also Like

Oscars for geeks

By February 21, 2019 Film, Headlines, Performance

The Oscars are in crisis but it’s an easy fix.

Read More

You Might Also Like

Highs of 2018

By December 31, 2018 Film, Headlines, Life, Performance, Travel

Is there ever a time you can’t muster a high? When you scoff at such a list; mind blank and steeped in bleak forecasts?
Are you screaming YES?

This was a year maybe a high might be hard to find.

A year to confront aging. A unknown father rushes in moments before a school holiday concert and mouthes “sorry” to his annoyed wife. As he brushed past me (proud aunt in the front row) to take his seat down the row, I found myself breathless-he was so very very young, this tardy father. Suddenly I was seized with panic. I was that wife, when? Yesterday, wasn’t it? We were the parents with little ones in concerts we never missed. Now I’m…what? Old?
NEVER. Have you seen me do my ab exercises?  MOVE ON, NOW.

I was silly and stern and strong this year. Sad and deliriously happy. Woeful and wonderstruck both.  Age is my friend after all, even if nobody gave me Time for Christmas. Hint for Santa: I only want TIME and you can bring it without wrapping as our blue bin is full.

A funny thing happened on this adventure in adulthood: there’s always a high. We go high when they go low, says Michelle Obama.

What makes me high? (My lawyer has advised me to refrain from the truth when crossing the border). Here is the secret: stories.

Here are some stories on page, stage and screen that shone for me in 2018 and maybe a few from my own story. Read More

You Might Also Like

TIFF 2018 Quotables: Don’t stop until you get enough

By September 20, 2018 Film, Headlines, Performance

 Every year, I listen to filmmakers introduce their films, and dish their art at Q and A sessions, and am reminded: these artists are all infused with hope. The very act of making their film, from whatever corner of the planet they inhabit, is one of crazy mother f—–g courage. Remember what that looks like? Every year I am inspired, just in time, as every student should be at the start of September.

Here are a few of my takeaways from TIFF 2018:

Stay in touch with your college roommates

The most compelling on stage moments this year came from the cool intellect of writer/director Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk) who talked in detail about his relationship with language, the novelist James Baldwin, and his spectacular creative shorthand with his old roommate, cinematographer James Paxton, who has shot every short and feature Jenkins has made. The result: stunning filmic portraits.

“James and I went to film school together. I’ve known him since I was 20. We were actually roommates. We were those cats who talked shit about the other students who weren’t watching, we were the inner nerds, film school nerds kind of thing; we have this language. James is actually white but he’s become celebrated, because we’ve been working together for so long and most of the stories I tell feature black actors, he has developed an eye and sensitivity to the way—especially the history of emotion in black skin is a very complicated history— and he and I have worked over the years to go against the grain and present black skin and black faces on screen.”

I asked Jenkins what his life is like as a filmmaker after winning the Oscar for Moonlight.

“People return my phone calls now. They reply to my emails now. That’s the biggest thing. But I work with all my friends. My producers are people I went to film school with, my editors are from my film school, my cinematographer etc, so those people have seen me at the lowest level, and seen me being really ridiculous and will tell me You’re being a bit extra right now, you may have won the Oscar but you’re still the same dude. I feel like opportunities are much more readily available. However,  I wrote this film in 2013 at the same time I wrote Moonlight so there was no pressure, it was already set in motion. I do whatever I can to get out of the headspace of somebody who has won the Oscar.”

Jenkins is at work on another literary adaptation. His next project is to write and direct a one hour drama series adapted from Colon Whitehead’s bestseller, The Underground Railroad, currently in development at Amazon.

When making a film means survival…

Edge of the Knife was the first film to be told in Haida dialects, languages that less than twenty people on the planet still speak fluently. The film, set in Haida Gwai in the 1800’s, follows the classic story, shot with beautiful cinematography, of the Wildman (from Haida legend) who haunts the land. In making their film, co-directors Gwaii Edenshaw and Helen Haig-Brown achieved the colossal: preserving a culture. The world premiere for this film was easily the most moving of all the events at this festival as the cast and crew spoke passionately about their film collective, one vastly different from the usual hierarchal film sets. The most wonderful element of the film, for me, was the attention paid to the grandmothers, the nonnies who shone through the screen. An audience member wanted to know what it was like working on the set.

“I’ll speak briefly and pass it off to others because I don’t know what it’s like to be on any other film set. Working with my nonnies, I thought I was the boss but we all know who is really the boss in those situations.”

-Gwaii Edenshaw, co-director, Edge of the Knife

When titles fit…

 

“I’m always thinking about people hundreds of years from now; what will they say of us? They will say, I think, “These people were living at the time of the fall of the American empire.”

-Denys Arcand, director

When dumb questions are permitted…

Looking back at the film right now, is there any scene you would have done better, says one audience member at The Hummingbird Project premiere (as the rest of us mutter, geez)

“If you’re a sane actor, the answer would be all of it. I haven’t watched myself in a movie in ten years for that reason. I can’t look. I’m so mortified by it. The only analogy I can possibly give you with regards to judging myself is when you go on a vacation and you take, like, 100 photos and then you look at the photos and you think, I’ll send maybe two of them to people, as I hate the way my neck looks in the other 98. That’s the way I feel about movie acting. To answer your question, I wish I could do better always. “

-Jesse Eisenberg, star of The Hummingbird Project 

When they won’t stop asking female performers about being mothers…and the actor in question handles it with grace.

Carey Mulligan is one of the standouts this year in actor Paul Dano’s directorial debut, Wildlife.

“I’m more tired now and have less time to indulge in lots of research.  The bar has been set so much higher with what I do want to do because I don’t want to be away from my children so when the opportunity to work with someone like Paul and make a film like this and get a role that’s this rich, detailed, complex, and truthful that is now the barometer for everything I do now. I want it to be as as good an experience as this, with as good a director, as good a script.”

-Carey Mulligan, star of Wildlife

 

When there’s no pretty faces in your film…

The Swedish fantasy film, Border, written and directed by Ali Abbasi, features two unusual looking characters inspired, in part, by Nordic folklore.

“The film has different ambitions. At the core of it what I found important and subversive about the project was that every time you see people in movies they tend to be perfect. You see a CSI episode and the lab assistant is beautiful with perfectly symmetrical features. I’m not super beautiful and perfect and I know a lot of people that aren’t, in fact the majority of us, right? Every time you see a person who is fat or ugly or whatever they tend to be villains or some kind of comic relief. Here we have a chance to actually take characters and give them an arena where they can experience an emotional life, one that you can engage with. Hopefully, if we’ve done our job right, the movie, somewhere in its course, you, the viewer, will start to see the the beauty in them as well. That kind of experience, I would love for everyone else to have, to look at The Other and see how they feel and not just look back and observe them.”

-Ali Abbassi, writer/director, Border

When you’re 27 and “a miserable lawyer, and you have a script burning inside you but you’re living the life expected of you and you don’t want to take a risk and be estranged from family and community and be seen as implicity rejecting everything that was offered to you” …

One of my favourites at this year’s TIFF, Wild Rose was written by Glasgow-born Nicole Taylor, among the more inspiring female screenwriters heard from at this year’s festival. On stage at the world premiere of her latest creation, Taylor (former lawyer, now successful screenwriter) spoke passionately about what she hopes are universal themes.

“I feel so many people, almost everyone, has had a relationship with their home town where they feel they can’t be themselves there, they’re not allowed to be themselves, and of course you want to leave, but if you leave you take yourself with you. If you ever want to be an authentic, coherent person, especially if you ever want to sing a song, or write a screenplay, you’re going to have to find, no matter how far you get from your home town, you’re going to have to find some way of integrating who you are and where you came from to where you’re trying to get to. I suppose in the broadest, most self-indulgent sense, this film for me was making my piece with Glasgow.”

-Nicole Taylor, screenwriter, Wild Rose 

When there really is a wizard behind the curtain…

One dazzling event was surely the premiere of Quincy, a documentary about the long career of the prolific musician Quincy Jones, mined from 2000 hours of archival footage and 800 hours verité footage. The film is pure inspiration. Jones, now 85, whip smart ever still, joined the directors, which include his daughter, on stage after the film screened.  Asked if there were any surprises to discover from making this doc after growing up with her dad, co-director Rashida Jones:

“I think it was the consistency of this pattern that he pushed himself to the limit every day to the point of, sometimes a heath crisis, or a nervous breakdown or whatever it was, and then every single time managed to survive, reset, recalibrate and make a decision to live his life a different way. He’s done it over and over again. You’ve had a lot of lives, Dad.”

-Rashida Jones, co-director, Quincy

(beat)

“Don’t stop until you get enough”*

-Quincy Jones

 

When the food nazi is sleeping on the job…

There I was, waiting for the film to start in my seat, munching happily on my green apple, one of the delights discovered in a treats bag given to me by one of my cherished TIFF buds, who handed it over outside in the lineup as if it was the normal thing ever instead of the thing that likely saved you that day. (That and the scarf you bought in two seconds from downtown Winners when you realized the weather had changed while you were inside the theatre: just another typical day in Canada).

“You there, yes you, there’s no food or drink in the theatre!”

Mr. I’m in Charge admonished, pointing at me with everything but a spotlight, me there in my seat, with my mouth full of apple. Clearly, the chocolate chip cookies in said snack bag called for stealth.
Stealth was on holiday for a screening another day at the Princess of Wales theatre, which surely has not seen pyjama clad patrons in those velvet seats very often. In a crowded house, nobody cares what you wear but what you eat? Perhaps I should have guessed their backpacks had some treats as a trio plunked down beside me. As appetizers, a pickle jar passed between them for the first half, before an entreé of odorous sandwiches, followed by  dessert of peanut butter from those tiny samples given at diners, licked one finger at time, all relished with a soundtrack running parallel to the one on the big screen in front of me. Cursing is free in your head.

Kindred spirits are everywhere if you’re looking in the right place:

When the lights are down, and we’re bombarded with sponsor messages ( Hey L’Oreal, yes I am worth it, but your models sure don’t look like me, or anyone else I know) , volunteers let the RUSH line in and there is a scramble to fill any empty seats. Done properly by a highly capable volunteer quad, the rest of the theatre doesn’t even notice. Done poorly, and the volunteer flashlights and whispering into the first minutes of the film becomes an annoyance. Still, I had to smile in recognition at one last minute elderly fan wearing rad sunglasses who arrived in the darkened theatre after all of us were seated. On her head, a Tilley hat, and no, she didn’t remove her sunglasses as she realized the one seat remaining was smack in the middle of the second row down in the front.

 “Can you please get up so I can just climb over and get to that seat?,”

The ask was a bold one, as she pointed to the seat holders in front of her. Request granted.  Over she hopped nimbly; up went her arms in triumph. Yes, we all cheered. It was that kind of day, that kind of audience. These are my peeps.

*Yes, you were paying attention.  That is the line of Michael Jackson’s hit, produced by Quincy Jones. Turn up your volume. 

 

For more reading: from last year,
My Quotables from 2017

You Might Also Like