Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Some Kind of a Man

Blue skies weren't necessary today when we woke up to a blue victory.

On this gray and soggy day, it was all anybody was talking about on Facebook, so I shouldn't have been surprised to hear from my Dad - from whom I get my tendency to have an opinion on everything - on the subject.

"Nice result! Glad to see the Commonwealth took the high road. Personally, I was dubious about all last week's FAKE NEWS about how Gillespie was almost dead even. Couldn't see it. Yucky weather. Have a good one."

Just last night I'd invoked my Dad's name while I was at the Valentine's community conversation about voting. Each of the participants was asked to share how voting was handled in our families growing up, so I'd told my seatmate that both my parents follow politics closely and voting was taken seriously in our house.

So seriously that my sisters and I were told not to consider dating a guy who didn't vote - perish the thought - much less bring one home to meet Mom and Dad.

I was well into middle age before I - gasp! - did start dating a man who not only didn't vote, he'd never even registered to vote. Fortunately, he seemed to grasp the gravity of the situation when I explained the family rule and registered forthwith so he could cast a vote in the 2012 election.

Needless to say, I never told my parents.

Responding to Dad's message, I told him I thought it sent a message to the narcissist-in-chief as well as the rest of the country. I went on, "A gray, depressing day but with encouraging and hopeful news...I'll take it! But I already miss wearing shorts on my walk."

Without missing a beat, he shot back, "The eyeballers probably do as! Now if the Dems can sustain this momentum. Ciao!"

The eyeballers? Only my father can crack me up, then bring it back around to what's important: politics.

What did seem ideal for the damp, dreary cold was film noir, especially one described as "A truly great flick with Orson Welles at his obese, dissipated best," although neither of the friends I invited were free (although one got points for acknowledging, "What could better complement the weather?").

That much was clear by the decent-size crowd that assembled at the Byrd for "Touch of Evil," in which we got a Welles hat trick: he starred, wrote and directed the 1958 film. Although why he chose to have Charlton Heston playing a Mexican we'll never know.

The Byrd's manager Todd clued us in to the extended opening shot, considered to be so masterfully executed that it alone caused generations of people to want to become cinematographers. He also shared that the film had been finished by Welles to his satisfaction, recut by Universal Studios to his dissatisfaction and then a third version reassembled in 1998 using a 58-page memo from Welles' after his original cut was lost.

"So you're seeing a film that's part Welles, part Universal and part '50s," he warned us. The '50s elements were glaring: the young Mexican men wore leather jackets and sideburns, listened to loud rock and roll music and smoked reefers while Janet Leigh's undergarments shaped her breasts into sharp, conical points that could have cut glass.

In fact, every shot of her was a '50s man's dream of a hot woman, from her fitted clothes and sexy lingerie to her wanton scenes with her blond hair loose in bed, or on a fire escape with nothing but a sheet wrapped around her.

Titillation was so much simpler in those days.

And film noir, well, that was so much better then, too. Evil was obvious and good guys realized when they hadn't kissed their woman in the past hour and did so no matter where they were.

The eyeballers must have loved that.

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