Thursday, August 03, 2006

Culture at Cost

“Little Miss Sunshine” has not opened but was showing at the AMC cinema on 42nd street. This is the most ridiculous of all multiplex theaters because, while there are 25 theaters, there are only three on each floor. And the first theater is on about the fifth floor. So if you divide 3 into 25, which leaves you one theater short of being equal, it’s like walking to the top of the Washington Monument, only there are escalators. And in order to prevent you from going from theater to theater and not paying $10.50 for each show, you can only exit on an elevator, unless you happen to chance upon the down escalator, which is not easy to do.

It’s been very hot in NY. Actually it’s been very hot up and down the east coast. Which, of course you know if you live on the east coast. When we’re not working, Jordan and I like to go to the theater or a movie for a discount rate. As a matter of fact, I haven’t paid full price for a ticket since we saw “Wicked” three years ago. I belong to a few discount theater clubs. This week we saw, ”Little Miss Sunshine,” (Over 55 is a senior at that theater—this is not a club you join), the Martin Short show (for free) and “History Boys,” (for a student rush price).

The Martin Short show was awful. In addition, it wasn’t funny. He clearly did not know what he wanted to do except be on Broadway. The cast members, thank God it was not a one man show, were talented singers, dancers, and impersonators. But there was no reason for anyone to impersonate Ellen DeGeneres. None of it made any sense. He took us back to when he had a harrowing childhood, desperate struggle in show biz, success and then failure, drugs and alcohol, and finally his death. Which was not only a relief because it meant the show was almost over, but it gave us a song from, (as the actress said) “ the usual Broadway big black lady.” And the number did stop the show. Unfortunately, not permanently. The bad news was that the show wasn’t funny. The good news was that we didn’t pay for it.

“History Boys” was brilliant. Student rush seats are always the least desirable seats in the theater, but they are inexpensive seats in a show that we wanted to see. They were all the way on the left side of house so we could see a great deal of the backstage goings on, but the show was so riveting that we hardly noticed. It was clever and funny and tragic. There was some dialogue about “compound subjunctive words” which was somewhat educational. Every actor gave a fabulous performance and we were left speechless, but only for a moment. Because when we stood to hail their brilliance, Jordan noticed that one cast member could not take his eyes off of her. “Mom, he is staring right at me.” She said. And it was true but not a surprise. We were tempted to wait at the stage door and say hi, but decided to skip that part of the show.

“Little Miss Sunshine” is a terrific movie. Given the cast, I thought it was going to be a comedy. There were times when it was funny but for the most part, it was not. It was commentary on the way we spend our time, the importance of family and developing priorities. It didn’t preach or scream but in a most thoughtful way, made you stop and think about how foolish we can be about what’s important in our lives. Unlike (an example of a compound subjunctive according to the professor in “History Boys”) “Lady in the Water”, which I loved but have no idea why, this movie had startling clarity and humor at the same time.

When “Little Miss Sunshine” ended we decided to go to the rest room. It was not restful. There was a line all the way to the lobby, which as I explained is at least a mile away. We found our way back to the theater and exited at the top instead of the bottom of the space. I felt sure we would find an additional restful space there. And we did. It had only one toilet but we were only two people so the wait was brief. When we left the bathroom we seemed not to be anywhere near another exit, and the door we had exited from was locked. Jordan, being an observant young woman said, “There’s the elevator.”
And I replied, “I hate that elevator let’s find the escalator.” We couldn’t find the escalator but we found a door that said exit. Once inside the emergency stairwell (I now know the difference between a stairwell and a staircase), we realized we could not get back into the theater. We had to walk about 18 flights down to the street, It wasn’t a nice stairwell. It was one of those scary spaces in which you never want to be. But we were together so it was Okay.

Jordan and the pipes: a stairwell or a staircase?

Whenever we leave the apartment together, even if we’re going to the same place, I ask Jordan if she has her keys. She always says she doesn’t need them if we’re together and I always say, “but what if we get separated?”

There’s not much chance that we’re ever going to get separated, not after seeing that movie and certainly not while we’re enjoying some culture at cost. We’re just sayin… Iris

1 comment:

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