And now for news of the weekend...
On Friday, I left work and booked it to Hacienda Heights to see my friend Scott in The Diary of Anne Frank at Los Altos High School. Los Altos is doing something right. I don't mean that the show was brilliant or anything: it was far from it, but this place was packed. I have never seen so many people at a high school theatre performance. It was quite something. I was literally the last person to purchase a ticket. How is it that a depressing high school show about Jewish internment can have a bigger audience than a hilarious comedy at a university with really cool special effects. What is Los Altos doing right that the publicist at CSUP is doing wrong? I ask you.
Scott played Mr. Frank. He was excellent as usual. I really hope this young man studies acting somewhere when he goes to university. He has so much potential. I don't particular care for Anne Frank, but Scott's performance had me actively holding back the tears. I have to say, though: weird choice for a high school play.
On Saturday, I watched Empire of the Sun, which might be my favorite of all of Spielberg's movies. I know that I have trashed Spielberg repeatedly in this space and elsewhere, and I still think that he deserves a lot of the bile I chuck his way, but Jaws and now Empire of the Sun, make me really appreciate ol' Steven. I still dislike A.I. and E.T. and The motherfucking Terminal, but Empire of the Sun is beautiful: surreal and dreamlike, but hugely emotionally affecting with an interesting political core. A good portion of the film is a redux of James Clavell's King Rat, but damn the script (by the superb Tom Stoppard) is good.
After Empire, I met Wahima in La Verne and we saw The Incredibles, which has charm for days and is unbelievably clever. Everyone has seen this movie and everyone loves it, so I won't say anything more than I loved it too and I think it is a lock for the Animated Feature Oscar and will probably get an original screenplay nomination, too. Machine washable, darling: that's a new feature.
I visited my parents after the Brad Bird flick and we finalized the Christmas letter. My family cracks me the fuck up, I swear. Michael and Debs went on and on about how dad ought to take out his Chinese furniture store joke. They think it's too much of a non sequitor. Aside from the finer points of comedy in the Christmas letter, we discussed national politics, other Christmas logistics, and the huge fight during the NBA game on Friday night. My dad suggests that President Bush send Colin Powell and Jimmy Carter as his envoys to create lasting peace between Palestine and Israel. This sounds like a great plan to me, but we all know it won't be happening.
Then I went to see The Foreigner. It's a lot better. Chris seems worse, but that is to be expected, I suppose. The audience liked him well enough, I guess. Tori has sped up a lot and her performance is much funnier because of it. The one joke I put in the show got a huge laugh, so I felt good about that. The show is much the same as it was when I first reported on its progress in this space about two weeks ago. It has the same strengths and weaknesses I thought it had then. I still think Jensen is the strongest voice in the show. Matt Guerra is still wonderful. And I still think Brittney, Tori, and Rick are giving good—if unremarkable—performances. The dialects are much stronger, and I only detected a few errors: almost all of them Gelvin's.
Busy day, Saturday. After the show Linda drove me out to her new house in Cathedral City (Palm Desert). It's lovely: more lovely than you can imagine from my words. The best description I can give is that it looks like a picture out of the Pottery Barn catalog. It's truly beautiful. At any rate, Tori, Brittney, Catherine, Peter, Matt, Linda and I drank wine and sat in the hot tub late into the night. I drank (in this order) Shiraz, more Shiraz, Zinfandel, and Merlot (I was plastered by this point and just didn't care.)
Today I woke up, showered, had coffee and some eggs and after sending the girls and Peter off to their matinée of The Foreigner, Linda, Matt, their cats and I headed calmly back toward Los Angeles County. We stopped for coffee near the outlet malls on I-10, and I made a
Today I finished last week's Sunday Crossword (this is 2 weeks in a row, people!), made the grocery list for Thanksgiving, randomly cleaned, paid some bills and finally watched John Singleton's Boyz N the Hood, which, if I may say, is no Do the Right Thing. Nevertheless when Tre hands Furious the gun and Furious holds his son, I started to cry: a lot. This really moved me. I guess it just hit me how much this boy had lost and how much he needed his father to hold him in that moment. The hug also held all of Furious's hopes for his son. With that hug he declared victory on the Hood.
But... except for the hug and a couple of other nice moments (that Morris Chestnut is a looker, ain't he?), I thought the film was really preachy: maybe even extremely preachy.
Why am I not finishing my apps to Berkeley and Davis? Is it because I think I won't get in, or is it because I think I don't need to try that hard? Whatever it is, it is procrastination. I just can't get up the energy to go and finish all of this application stuff. I feel so... inadequate.
Just so you know, I have busted out my Xmas music. Feel free to do the same. And if you happen to burst into Burl Ives' "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas," while standing in line at the grocery or the coffeehouse, just ignore the bewildered stares of others. It's the fucking holidays. Bring cheer to the lives of others! Cheers.