Whilst driving home from the cotton patch Friday night, and engaging in my usual road rage laments with goofy ass beach goers who are "chillaxing", I turned my dial to 89.3 KPCC. A wonderfilled NPR station that seems to save me from attacking morons surrounding me. I was listening to an episode of Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and she was kind enough to pull some interviews from the vault. I sat in traffic hungry ass hell listening to Julia Childs speak about her 40 years in television and of course her love affair with French cuisine. I felt anxious listening to Elia Kazan talk about directing his masterpiece "On the Waterfront" and other works. Budd Schulberg for all his greatness, reminded me that the writers room can be such a suffocated place (read: Boys Club). Eva Marie Saint somehow gave me hope in her interview--
I marveled at the fact that the year she was awarded the Oscar for her work in Waterfront, the ceremony was held in New York. When actors did wonderful theatre, and funny faces were allowed on film. Fast forward to 2009, when robots, guinea pigs, and murderous children take over the box office---I mean seriously? Orphan has got to be the dumbest shit produced. EVER. Spoiler alert: Esther is a not a child, but a fucking dwarf...Oh the shit they put on the screen...
It all made me grip the stirring wheel, and I couldn't help but to wonder:
Will I ever ascend to such greatness?
Some days I feel like I'm traveling no where fast, and that I've been doomed to have a one way ticket to Palookaville. Marlon Brando never spoke truer words. Even though many classic films from the 30s-70s don't fair well, in showing the lives of people of color, I still marvel at the classics. Brando didn't compromise in his work. He was a man of incredible strength. Paul Newman was a character actor trapped in a pretty boy's body. Steven McQueen suffered the same thing...but the cool factor trumped that.
Some of you reading this might be a bit irritated at the same crew of "legends". The same group of white men who will be forever American icons. I get it...but there is something to be said for the kind of films that they made...the kind of theatre that they made too. I am terrified and deeply saddened nearly everyday with dismal news about losing productions in California to other states and countries. It scares me that Mary J. Blige may portray Nina Simone in a bio-pic. Original productions in New York theatre is becoming a thing of the past and we're left with recycled bullshit musicals based on movies. And original straight plays? Shid...not anymore.
Julia Childs went to France in 1949 and after one bite of sole meunier, voila! Her life was changed. One little bite, and her life was altered. She set out on a course to bring French sensibility to the American dinner table (and she had to battle a LOT of men to do so). Now, she didn't invent any wheels...but she did something right. I certainly loved watching her growing up. When I look at Brando, Newman, McQueen and many others I wonder "what the hell can I do, to get there?"
I don't want to go to Palookaville. I don't want to be the actor with bit parts in movies. Hell I'll say it...I don't want to be local. Like Kanye and Nas say "...cool out thinking we local homie, we major. C'mon homie, WE MAJOR..."
NPR & PBS here I come.
There's room. I know there is.
ciao for now kiddies!