Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday with the Beeth

I spent this Friday evening volunteering at the movie theater up the street. It is a way I have a spent a few Fridays in this past year and a handful of Saturdays, doling out popcorn, talking film and seeing a new indie or foreign film for free. Not too shabby. Here are some observations about tonight:

  • I worked with a lovely older woman who looked decked out for the holidays with this beautiful bright red lipstick on. It also turns out that her son happens to own one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in a nearby town. I thought it was too soon but if I volunteer with her again, I'm going to request one of those cards that would allow me free buffalo vegetable quesadillas there for life. They have those cards right?
  • People are kinda pigs. Because it is a small, independent theater and pretty much a start up, the concessions are sold at a very cheap price. The popcorn is low budget but it is popped fresh for each showing and it costs exactly $1. That's it. The bag size is what I would call "snack size". For $1, one can't expect the large vats of popcorn available at the multiplex. However, I got complaints tonight. "Can't you find a bigger bag?" and "For a $1 I want more." Um, what? When was the last time you spent $1 on popcorn? I talked in a previous blog post about how much a trip to the movies costs. The last time I bought popcorn it was around $5. So, really? You want more for $1? Bite me. Also, after the screening, I had to go out into the theater to sweep up all the detritus left behind, which, objectively speaking, when you have a room full of sober adults, should be minimal. For some reason, tonight's group left a veritable garbage dump of various bits of crap. I mean, ok, I get that popcorn isn't always the easiest of foods to keep from falling on the floor in the dark. But when you get up and you have left behind three candy bar wrappers and a half empty bottle of water, you are just being fucking lazy.

  • The movie tonight was A Late Quartet starring Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Catherine Keener among others. I hadn't really heard anything about it before hand apart from an excerpt of an interview with Walken on Fresh Air. In this film, he is the most un-Christopher Walken I've ever seen, a cellist and a widow recently diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. There are a handful of actors I would have envisioned in a role like that. But I have to say I was able to separate him in this role from his persona and when you come to expect a handful of quirks from a person, it takes a good actor to help you forget it. 
  • A central part of the film is the music, in particular a piece by Beethoven Opus 131 String Quartet. I first heard that particular piece in college, when I still had aspirations to minor in music history. It was part of the textbook companion set of CASSETTE TAPES (now you know how old I am) for a class called "The History of Western Music". I would listen those tapes over and over and over again on my walkman while I shelved books in the college library. This piece always stood out for me because the first time I heard it I had to stop what I was doing to listen. After that, every time I heard it, my mind would wander wherever it wanted while keeping me tethered for fear of not being able to hear it from far away. I can't hear this without recalling the scent of that library, the memory of those endless stacks underground, even the feel of those books as I walked between the aisles and ran my hands along the bindings and all the things I felt at the time. Beethoven reminds me of being 20 which just makes me melancholy. What? I dare you to think of yourself at 20 and not sigh in the remembrance.  Listen to it here, I promise you will not spend a better nine minutes:

Ok I'm wrapping this up. I'm going to do a very un-Friday thing (for me anyway) and sit in my apartment sober, listening to the Beeth. Man, it is just like my wild, wild 20s!

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