I Dream of Black & White; They Dreamed in Radio

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Tonight we watched “Midnight In Paris”. The movie arrived via Netflix and I wasn’t expecting to really like it, particularly since it’s a Woody Allen film. Not that there’s anything wrong with his collection of work but people either really love or adamantly despise his movies. I think this was my first, and if they are all like this, I may be a fan.

I felt like I knew the main character, Gil, as if he and I were of the same mindset. He dreamed of another time, the golden age of Paris in the 1920’s. He felt the romanticism of history and like an old soul, felt a pull toward nostalgia. You know I feel that way; not about that particular period, but about feeling a connection to another time. It’s purely an unrealistic fascination because I don’t dream of the lack of vaccinations or the uninvented advancements that accompany the chores of today’s everyday life; but there is a sense of simplicity and an appreciation for things as they used to be. He is treated like he’s crazy for his dreamlike longing and I can relate to that with certain people. Maybe their souls aren’t quite as old or they just lack he part of our brain that wanders.

Gil literally takes a ride into his dream time period and mingles with the likes of Hemingway, Dali and Picasso. He experiences quick friendships with that era’s most prominent and important creative sorts. Along the way he meets a fascinating woman and as he falls for her, she reveals that she longs for the turn of the century, and how dull life is during her existence. He comes to understand that his longing is not new, but that romantics have always longed for what is gone and what will never be again. It is obvious and likely that this is the case, but for someone like me who dreams of days I will never experience in a realistic sense, it is slightly sad. Dreamers don’t accept reality fully, because what would we dream about? I don’t want to dream of paying my bills or mowing the lawn. I want to have fantasy because it ultimately doesn’t matter if I have the right vaccinations in my dreams, as long as I fill whatever void I have with stories and distant time periods.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Arranged

Linds “Arranged”

I am lucky because I have a group of friends that I have loved since I was 14 years old.  Though we live in all different places in the country now, the friendships still remain strong.  We try to get together whenever we can get a few in the same town.  In this particular trip, one of our girls couldn’t make it, so I printed her face and we “arranged” many pictures, as if she joined us.  She accompanied us all over NYC.  It’s great because I captured a snide look on her face and it gives each moment more character than a fake smile.  She’s my favorite sarcastic person and a wonderful friend.  I hope you enjoy and I hope she doesn’t mind that I’ve plastered her face on here for the world to see.

Giving Life to Distant Ancestors

There is a picture that has moved from basement to garage and back again, and from rowhome to rowhome in Philadelphia.  It is a picture of a family, joined together in the family bakery in the late 1910’s.  I first saw this picture as a child and it was thought to be lost for the years since.  I’ve managed to scan it and take in the details amongst the water stains and torn paper.  My great-great-grandmother is in the picture.  It was taken in her sister and brother-in-law, Elizabeth and Michael’s bakery.  My great-grandma is there too, as a little girl.  More than just a photo, I recently learned it was a Baptism celebration for Elizabeth and Michael’s son, Nicholas.

I never met these bakery owners.  But I know they are the reason my great-great-grandparents chose Philadelphia when leaving Europe.  They made a home there and found employment doing odd jobs in the bakery.

More than finding dates and places of birth, I spend much of my time doing ancestry research, trying to put together a puzzle in my mind, trying to piece together what this person was like.  What kind of struggles did they go through?  What did they look like?  I was able to recently find a picture of Elizabeth and Michael recently, along with some records and pieces that give me an idea of who they were.  They came from Hungary, single, young and poor.  Michael was tall with dark hair and “deep blue” eyes.  He labelled himself a self-employed baker when he stepped on the shore of New York, at the age of 19.  He came from Hungary but spoke German.  Had several children, became a Naturalized citizen right off the ship, battled pneumonia in 1918 and had the highest appraised house on his block by the time he was 40.  By this time he filled out his draft card for World War II, he was gray, but still slender and still baking.  He spent the last sixteen years a widower.  He lived to 93, the year before I was born.  It makes the connection feel closer in the frame of time but there was a world of difference between our lives.  When I look at the picture of he and his wife though, I can’t help but feel like they are characters.  I like to think she was sassy.  I like to give them a story.  In a way, I wouldn’t be here today without them, distant relative or not.

Adulterers in Romantic Comedies Don’t Do it For Me

Whether we like to or not, there are well known people in the world that we simply like, let’s call them celebrities.  The reasons could be for any reason really; they could remind you of your favorite relative, they are simply gorgeous to gawk at or you adore their body of work.  I tend to want to get to know people well when I like them.  I don’t think this is very uncommon, but when I admire the work of a celebrity, I sometimes reading about them and discovering the (wo)man behind the magic.  Maybe it is the investigative part of me.  The tricky thing is to learn for fun and not actually think you know them because a few articles were read.  We also can’t invest ourselves in a person we don’t know.  This is what happens to the stalkers and teen idol fans.

A good friend of mine from years ago loved tabloids and the who’s who of Hollywood.  We both enjoy kitschy humor, goofy characters and pretty much any witty comedy.  We would quote Seinfeld on a regular basis because so much of the humor fit into daily life and I remember telling her that Julia Louis-Dreyfus was going to be on one of the late night shows.

“I won’t watch it” she said.  “But she’s your favorite, why?” I asked her.

She went on to explain that whenever she develops a fondness for a character or an actor, she refuses to watch anything which presents the actual personality of the actor/actress.  She explained that if they said something that rubbed her the wrong way or if she saw them in a different light than what she envisioned in her mind, it would ruin the entertainment part of it.  I thought it was a little silly at first, but looking back, I can’t say I disagree.

The last thing I want to do is create a political debate, but I find that when celebrities that I’d typically really enjoy on screen, back politicians I don’t support or if they make bad choices in general, it really does affect my enjoyment of their work.  I guess I should elaborate.  The guys and gals of Hollywood who cheat on their spouses, I just have a difficult time seeing them in romantic roles after that.  Ashton Kutcher for example, used to be a goofy, sort of cute Midwest guy who I now see as a sleaze ball.  Don’t try to reel me into a romantic comedy about how he is the down and out guy who needs love but keeps getting rejected.  I won’t buy into it.  And I could care less about Demi Moore mind you, I just won’t be able to believe the characters they intend to portray.

This is stupid for several reasons, because:

A)     We are all entitled to our own beliefs and lifestyles, as you and I are.

B)      Why I believe they need to appease my feelings so I watch their show is beyond me.

C)      They are just people who should not be glorified in any way, anyway.

Now, trust me when I say that I do not glorify celebrities, particularly since I don’t have the time to sit down and watch enough pop culture to really know who half the celebrities are today as it is.  But I think because I’m a realist, I just like to see people for who they are.  I have a very difficult time letting them trick me into believing they are an alternate character.  I don’t know if I’m proud of that or I’m just a fool for simply not taking entertainment for exactly what it is supposed to be; entertainment.

This is the cheesiest post I’ve ever written.  If my main complaint today is that I can’t envision a romantic comedy with the lead played by an adulterer, life must be pretty good.

Photos courtesty of catalogs.com and Star magazine.