Archive | Past Matters

All We Ever Wish For

It was one of those days that just kept going and going, and the whole time I had to be on in a very public, TV lady sort of way. By the time I headed home, it was late, and my sense of humor–already eroded by the Winter That Will Not End–had evaporated. Still, when a woman on the subway platform pointed out she had the same hat, I couldn’t help but smile. It’s rare to find another adult who’ll wear the blue-dyed rabbit fur I refer to as my Muppet bonnet. The two of us struck up a chat while her boyfriend–tall, broad-shouldered, with a knitted brow–stood by, clearly not thrilled that his companion’s attention had been diverted. I knew his type well, had made the mistake of dating men like him when I’d been naive enough to conflate size with stability. After a bit it came out we all had been at the same event, and she and I compared notes while he continued to glower. Talking to her while he steamed reminded me of the conversations my mother used to have with female neighbors in the 1970s, all of them talking in lowered voices while glancing over their shoulders lest their husbands catch them lollygagging.

Finally he burst out: “I don’t judge.”

If I’d hadn’t been so fried, I would’ve let his comment go. I saw the quick hunch of her shoulders. Instead, I said, “You can have an opinion without judging.” Continue Reading →

Six Swoony Vintage Meta-Musicals

After decades of being demonized as box-office poison, movie musicals are back – thanks in no small part to the millions of girls and boys still howling “Let It Go” more than a year after the theatrical release of “Frozen.” Last month, “Into the Woods” hit theaters, and audiences flocked to see the likes of Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, and Johnny Depp chew up the scenery in Rob Marshall’s adaptation of the Sondheim multi-fairy tale extravaganza. This month it was announced that a movie adaptation of the Broadway smash “Wicked” is under way, with Lea Michele and Harry Styles possibly attached. And Richard LaGravenese’s terrific film adaptation of the off-Broadway hit “The Last Five Years” is poised to hit theaters in the next few weeks. Starring Anna Kendrick as a stage actress in a stormy relationship with a writer (Jeremy Jordan), it’s as much about the make-it-or-break-it world of show biz as it is about millennial romance.

To tide us over until these films hit theaters – and because, in general, great new film releases are hard to come by in the dark days of winter – here are six vintage movie musicals about musicals that deserve a second look. Continue Reading →

Jingle This

In the midst of tackling a seemingly unsurmountable mountain of end-of-year work, I keep flashing on the orange cinderblock walls of my junior high school principal’s office. For a kid who did okay in school, I spent an awful lot of time in the principal’s office–no surprise, probably. Combine hormones with a deeply ingrained mistrust of authority, and I was born to be an 8th grade teacher’s nightmare. Also no surprise that I keep flashing on that pocket of purgatory right about now. My malaise: the holidaze.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy