Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's Eve Party for Three

Our New Year’s Eve Party evolved because it was not pre-planned. I made a rich turkey broth into a hearty hot soup for supper that night. I also tossed some brownies into the oven. That job looked daunting to me at 4:30 pm because I was too tired to crack even four eggs. But I took a nap and it was easy-peasy – tossed that off in 20 minutes by 6 p.m. Bonnie brought home the beverages: apple cider, lime diet Coke and Sprite. She also picked up red licorice, a Cadbury Caramilk chocolate bar and vanilla and chocolate ice-cream. What our party food lacked in sophistication, our entertainment made up for: 2012 Air Farce Wrap up, 2 episodes of Downtown Abbey, Les Paul Tribute, and Les Paul Trio, Tea with Mussolini, and a fabulous Canadian comic whose name I have forgotten 24 hours later.

Re: watching Canadian Air Farce -- for the past five years I have been spending my spare time trying to be more Canadian. For years before that, I was concentrating on pouring historical and contemporary information about Mormonism into my head. Deeming what I had thought about in that connection to be sufficient for me to enter at least one of the lower heavenly kingdoms, I decided that I was a pretty poor example of a Canadian and that I should concentrate further efforts in changing that. I am not richly invested in my political or social culture – I know the names of no contemporary Canadian bands; I can’t name all of the Prime Ministers, and I can only loosing participate in political discussions, important ones like IdeNoMore. So it is was a test for me to see if I can catch all of the jokes when the Canadian Air Farce allude to important current affairs events of 2012.

Re: watching Downtown Abbey – I have been searching for one other of my relatives who like this episodic TV series. Finding none, I bought a book at Costco to bring me up to speed on its history. I also watched Downton Abbey Revisited, which is really a one-time hook to take non-viewers into the third series by bringing them up to speed on what has happened in Season 1 and Season 2. Kelvin watched this with me at home in Calgary. His short term memory hasn’t allowed him to keep track of that viewing. We watched both Downton Abbey shows last night with Bonnie. She was quick to see that the fabulous costuming and the masterful acting are enough to make taping the next season a priority. The complicated connections and the allusions to former shows kept getting mixed up for Kelvin. Bonnie made a master plan – mapping out a geneogram for him of all of the characters both upsides and downstairs in the manor. Watching the 1 ½ hour update was perfect, for we could fast forward, go back, stop to improve the paper mapping for him, and get the characters fixed in our minds. How forward thinking was that for the fun we are going to have this season keeping up with “will Lady Mary and Matthew Crawly finally make it to the altar?”, “what about Edith – will she find true love” and “will Bates be vindicated or spend the rest of his life in prison?”. Season 3 has already been shown in England, but this will be like the soccer games from there that are taped by other people on the property. The viewers do not want to know the spoilers of the soccer game and neither do we of Downton Abbey. The soapiness of the story is fantastic – plots wrapped up in each episode – no cliff hanger to be resolved next week. Just finish it up, and move forward a few years, already going from the early 1900’s to 1920, at least not immanent ones. The crowd and leap of the script writer’s technique is compelling. I love the one-liners that make getting on with the plot so masterful. Last night we heard the Earl of Grantham ask his daughter, “Are you marrying Richard so he will keep secret that the Turkish diplomat died in your bed during a one night tryst with him.” Now that was a zinger. Talk about crowd and leap. And Dame Maggie Smith’s acting? – one reviewer says that watching her is a masterclass in the delivery of one-liners. I concur. Her performance is equalled in the acting abilities of two other seasoned female actors, Shirley McLaine and Penelope Wilton (Mrs. Reginald Crawley [Isobel]. Talk about tripling my viewing pleasure when watching older women on the screen.

Re: watching the Les Paul Tribute. I will sit and watch these two tapes a number of times -- this 90 year old guitarist, hearing aids to help him with the sound, his hand gnarled with arthritis, still at the top of his game. I will listen until I know all , not just ¾ of the songs I heard last night – how lucky for me that I have this on tape. Watching him perform with his old colleagues at his New York Monday night performance venue was so close to the feeling I would get if I were there. Breathtaking for me, bringing in the New Year this way.

Re: watching Tea With Mussolini – I only watch shows about the holocaust they are assigned in a film class, or if I am at a party where everyone else has agreed to see it together. This was the case last night. I am not good at managing the tension I feel with films around the holocaust. Hard to sleep at night, afterwards. I want the world to be full of happy musicals. But there was Dame Maggie Smith again in the film. And still I am mesmerized when she portrays meaning with the twitch of her mouth and the flick of her finger, or the shrug of a shoulder.

Looking forward to 2012.


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