Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ode To An Art House Theater

Oh Nashville, Oh Belcourt Theatre, how this heart misses you. Long gone are your discounted membership tickets, blown from my hand like Autumn leaves from the trees. No more are your Whole Foods/Wino screenings with delicate crumbs of phyllo dough gathering in my lap in place of stale popcorn. Hence forth I'll never stare bright eyed at your full bar... yes, a full bar at a movie theater. Could life be sweeter? No longer will you offer me vintage cult faves and midnight horror or free screenings because I lied and said I was a Vandy student. Sorry about that, actually. How I would rejoice just to hold your vegan cookies in my hand and smell that blissful aroma of upholstery glue, urine and real butter. I miss the occassional broken spring reaching out and gently touching my back like a dear old companion. I weep for your noir festivals and your foreign surprises. Your fundraisers, indies and your weekend classic. Your non-profit status. The people with cool hair, skinny jeans and cowboy boots who filled your lovely red aisles. Who else in the world would have the gall to play "Big Trouble in Little China?" No one else. Just you, friend. Just you. Perhaps one day I'll return. Cuddle up in your spanking new - and well deserved - theater seating. Nibble a pumpkin cookie. Sip an icy cold beer (on tap!). And let your glowing, flickering daydreams wash over me. Until then I wander the street of new towns and new cities searching with hopeful eyes. Begging the universe, which I'm sure is run by movie execs, that I'll find a theater I can call home. Hoping for a cinema as beautiful and sublime. Hoping for my Belcourt reborn. Hoping for another you.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Book By Its Cover

I have a very hard time not immediately judging people. It can be the way they're dressed. Who their friends are. The way they talk or hold themselves. Their job. Their taste in music. Etc... There's no situation where I'm more inclined to be judgmental than at the airport. That girl over there in the army jacket and Panama hat - a photo journalist who's never been able to keep a relationship. That man eating Burger King - a diabetic ignoring the advice of his doctor. That woman with the skinny jeans and baby bassinet - trophy wife who's been contending with a mistress ever since Jr. was born. The woman with frizzy hair rolling her eyes - a power player with little patience and a lot of ulcers.

I know it isn't right to judge a book by its cover. God knows what people must think of me. My old landlord thought I was a lesbian because I was always in workout clothes. I'm a hiker, okay? Not to mention my boob size throws people off, as in big boobs = lower IQ. I've been asked if I'm Jewish as people stare at my robust nose. I'm Italian, actually, thank you. Of course, having someone think you're one thing is a rather fun invite to prove them wrong. I don't mind it so much, so I continue to do it to others. Perhaps it's the writer in me. I like to make a story. Write a person's book before they can steer me otherwise.

However, just this last week, as I was flying home from visiting my dad in Santa Fe, I had the pleasure to sit by a rather giggly old woman. She was white, skinny, grey-haired and very jolly. I don't know why, but my first instinct was, 'she loves Glenn Beck, is old fashioned and probably spends her days petting her ten cats and crocheting Kleenex box covers.' (As I cat lover, myself, I can usually pick the type out.) Above all else, I was certain she was a conservative, Fox News type who I would have nothing in common with. I chose to keep quiet, digging into my book so I wouldn't have to make conversation, even though she kept looking at me when the Southwest stewardess/stand up comedian kept making jokes. I tried to laugh with her. I didn't want to be rude and the stewardess was actually rather funny - she kept asking us if we had any small jewelry items we wanted to donate to her. I mean, who does that? Genius.

But then, a miracle happened. As the plane took off, and the old woman settled in, she took out her book. And there it was. Was it Sarah Palin's biography? The latest Grisham novel? Hell no. It was a non-fiction account of the history of the Black Power Movement. I had to literally re-read the cover twice to believe my eyes. And man was she enthralled. She had proven to me with that hardbound piece of history, that you really can't judge a book by its cover. It may be fun... sure... but it's rarely accurate. Will I quit judging then, you ask? No. Of course not. I'm Blackheart. It's what I do. But I may start judging people by the books they read rather than their appearance.