Saw Milk on Saturday and was truly inspired by the film. Gus Van Sant had a remarkable way of weaving together the historical and personal events of Harvey Milk's life. And it was a life I knew virtually nothing about going in. I was amazed at how seamless and well-told the story was. Especially since we were only given a small snapshot: 8 years of his life. Given that I am setting up a lot of backstory in my novel right now, I was impressed with how subtle and effective it was done in this film. Suicide is also a running theme throughout the film and there was this idea that Harvey's brief but instrumental role in politics made him a kind of political and personal 'savior'. This led me to think about whether any living person can live up to such a symbol. And if so, how? Just something I've been thinking about as we see Obama though his early days in office.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of seeing Mary Poppins on Broadway. My mother insisted we go see it and, even though I pretended to put up a small protest, admittedly, I had no problems witnessing this wild spectacle. Mary Poppins is one of my favorite musical films of all time and, of course, it was Julie Andrews big coming out party back in the day and, for those of you who don't know, any connection to Julie Andrews, big or small, is a tie I never wish to sever. (And as you can see, I can't give much shoutout to the stage musical in the picture above. But only to Julie herself.) So I saw it and, despite its flaws, which really aren't worth getting into, I was truly inspired. In quite a different way than Milk. Any time you can see a woman fly through the air on an umbrella, no matter how cynical you may be, there has to be a kind of joy in your heart. It was made all that much better by the fact that my mother, in her own childish giddiness, questioned how they were able to achieve this illusion. Of course, I noticed how they had rigged her up because I was looking for it. But the lighting was good enough that it achieved the magic it was supposed to. So, for all intents and purposes, I saw Mary Poppins fly yesterday. And there ain't nothin' wrong with a little joy now and then. In fact, we need a whole lot more of it.