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Jims of Wyzdom for July 12, 2019

Friday, July 12, 2019

Operas: I did not put the final two Met in HD encores in my last column. One of them, “Barber of Seville,” was last night, and the very last one is scheduled for Wed., July 17 at 7 PM at the Regal Hollywood cinema: Anna Netrebko’s “Aida,” that may be the last time this production will be shown, since the Met is likely to mount a new production the next time it is on the schedule.

More Chautauqua Postcards:

  • Thursday and Saturday, the first two symphony concerts were held in the Amp. Both excellent programs, well played.
  • Friday night was opening night for “The Christians” by Lucas Hnath, author of “A Doll’s House, Part Two.” It began with a handsome pastor addressing his mega-church flock, telling them that he had a recent conversation with God, who informed him that there was no hell…and chaos ensued. The other people on the platform (the stage was the church, we were the congregation) including his wife, an elder and the young associate pastor, all had powerful reasons not to rock the evangelical boat. The play brought out some powerful discussions about the nature of faith, the nature of fundamentalists, and the central question, how can I tell what I believe? That affects all peoples of all faiths.  This young playwright, in my humble opinion, is really developing into one of our best playwrights.
  • Sunday we got religion, packed our car and drove home!

The tragedy of life is not in the fact of death. The tragedy of life is in what dies inside a man/woman while s/he lives—the death of genuine feeling, the death of inspired response, the death of awareness that makes it possible to feel the pain or the glory of other men/women in oneself….No man/woman need fear death: s/he need fear only that s/he may die without having known his greatest power—the power of his/her free will to give his/her life for others. [Missionary and Philosopher Albert Schweitzer]

1939 Movies: For those of you that did not enjoy our spring Film Forum on the year 1939: the Best Year Ever, you can enjoy lots of 1939 films on Turner Classic Movies, each Friday evening. On Tuesdays they are showing old space scifi movies, for those so inclined. This Friday, TCM will have “Dark Victory” and “Gone With the Wind” plus a couple others.

“Yesterday:” …is a new film playing in town about a preposterous idea that, following some world-wide event, all but one guy (our hero) loses all memory of the Beatles, so the young man makes a smash career of “writing and performing” those great songs. The soundtrack is great for all of us in my age group for whom the Beatles was their college soundtrack. Lots of fun.

TCM Movie for July: …is “Glory” starring Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick and Morgan Freeman; it will be shown on Sunday, July 21 at 1 PM at the Regal cinema, and perhaps again during the week—check movie website.

Success is a two-bladed golden sword; it knights one and stabs one at the same time. [Actress Mae West]

Memoirs: Did you see the Times Book Review last Sunday with its several-page-long listing of the 50 best memoirs? Very interesting list. I was disappointed that none of Reynolds Price’s memoirs were listed, but Gore Vidal’s “Pentimento” was there and two or three others I had actually read. I love these things. Memoirs can dig deeper into a person’s soul, even when they don’t think they have dug at all. They tend to make one more honest than, perhaps, was intended, and biographers must pay close attention to memoirs when writing the great person’s biography. Right now I am half through Valerie Jarrett’s memoir of her years working with President Obama. After Michelle Obama’s memoir, this one comes at that interesting time from a different direction with fascinating results.

Oh, and speaking of the Tines, I got an email from them yesterday informing me that my essay for “Modern Love” was rejected (sigh). I wonder if I’ll make it into their obits when the time comes?

Don’t ever underestimate the importance of money. I know it’s often been said that money won’t make you happy, and this is undeniably true, but everything else being equal, it’s a lovely thing to have around the house. [Comedian Groucho Marx]

Summer is really here now, and so is OLLI summer term. I hope you signed up for all your chosen classes. If a class is full and you’re wait-listed, please call the office or speak with the instructor…there may be a way in!

That’s all, folks!

Jim