After a thorough reading of today's Washington Post, I needed "Amarcord." Badly.
Why? Because today's entry in the Bijou's anti-fascist film fest, Fellini's 1973 look back at his childhood (the title translates as "I remember") in fascist Italy, promised reassurance that life goes on, even when delusional leaders seize control and, frankly, who couldn't use that reminder along about now?
It wasn't a big crowd - I heard something about a football game - but everyone there seemed to need what the film was offering and although I'd seen it in 2013 not long after visiting Italy, it necessarily resonated differently this time.
Of course, some details of Italian life - "Fernet or coffee?" - don't change.
Discussing "Amarcord" with a film aficionado afterward in the lobby, we agreed on the theme of daily life's durability despite a dictatorship, but, as he pointed out, that worked far better in the un-populated countryside of the 1930s than it might in a metropolitan area circa 2017.
My only other accomplishments were a foggy walk over the T Pot bridge and beyond, nailing a last-minute deadline and an intermittent but day-long listening party of The XX's new "I See You," the better to discuss it with the two fans who've sought my opinion on it this week.
It took exactly one listen to their debut album in 2009 to make me a fan and proselytizer for the band's hushed, minimalist sound. I recall playing it continuously for a fellow music-lover as we drove up Route 301 under a leaden sky. He was completely smitten with the band by the time we arrived. Success.
Naturally, 2012's "Coexist" engendered countless conversations with music fans about the direction their sound had taken, with an Italian cohort saying that it was so stripped down that for their next album, the band would simply dream the songs and fans would hear them.
Humor is a matter of opinion, but my attraction to The XX was as much about the murmuring sound as the lyrics of longing and introspection. Lyrics for fans of lyrics, so right up my alley.
Fiction, when we're not together
Mistaken for a vision, something of my own creation
Any certainties, how am I to tell?
I know your face all too well, yet I wake up alone
Happily, introspective lyrics are still there, only now they're part of a richer, more expansive sound palette that's clearly informed by synths and dance music (even briefly sampling Hall and Oates).
Hot damn, I would play this album at my next party in a heartbeat.
As it is, I'm already in love with it and it's only been a day since I brought it home from my neighborhood record store. Don't come to my apartment any time soon or you're going to hear it.
I've been a romantic for so long
All I've ever heard are love songs singing
Oh, oh, oh, go on, I dare you
Oh, oh, oh, I dare you
I get chills, heart rate multiplies
I'm on a different kind of high
A rush of blood is not enough
I need my feelings set on fire
The truth is, a rush of blood was never enough for me. As long ago as college, my friend Leo dubbed me "hopelessly romantic" and that's a man who knew me well. Still does.
The XX don't, yet they've given me a new soundtrack for 2017 going forward.
Chemistry is rare
in a two, three time affair
There's no guarantees
So I've learned since Leo labeled me way back when. Better, I think, to work on something of my own creation.