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The Academy Awards are tonight.

When I was a youth, and a pre-youth and post-youth (for a while), I would be fixated on the Oscars around (only) the time of their presentation.  Eventually one year I missed them, having completely forgotten they were upcoming.  What a relief.

This year, even though I’m bored to death, I won’t watch the Oscar ‘show’.  I’ve only seen Roma, which has been all the rage this past year.  Stumbled the other day onto a broadcast of the other year’s all-the-rage, La La Land, and I must confess I enjoyed it quite a bit.  On the whole, I’d rather enjoy a movie than endure one

Fifty years ago, I had a part-time job as a projectionist in an actual movie theatre, outfitted with old behemoths of 35 millimeter projectors with white hot arc light chambers, ten-pound CinemaScope lenses and all the rest.

The job was rather exhilarating — and for a while, terrifying — at the time, because one is absolutely in charge of the audience’s experience, an awesome responsibility.  I was very conscientious.

I have known a few managers of brick and mortar cinemas in my life, and they all maintain that projectionists are an odd lot.  I am proud [it’s true] to claim the brotherhood.

Here is a short video which exposes my focus on the subject of the motion picture.  You will either find it interesting, or five-ish minutes of your life wasted.

By the way, I did not die this past Wednesday during my heart procedure, thanks to my cardiologist, who by all accounts is brilliant, and by my own account also extremely cute.  I tell you the second bit to remind you that I am still cheap and shallow.  In that order.

I am inspired, to post these two pictures, by two recent posts by my e-friends Laurent and William (name-drops #1 and #2).

The first picture is of our splendid departed Margo having a stretch after a nap on one of a pair of Robsjohn-Gibbings, which we bought at the estate sale of interior designer Harold Westcott.  (Name-drop #’s 3, 4, and 5).

The second picture is a scan of a page out of a theatre program autographed by Miss Ethel Merman (name-drop #6) who was appearing in summer stock in Atlanta when I was fourteen.  When she emerged after the performance, she was wearing  a full-length mink coat.  Did I mention this was Summer

She began the autograph, and when the pencil tip broke, without missing a beat, snatched up a nearby pen to finish, resulting in a two-tone signature.

When I told RuPaul (name-drop #7) who was living in Atlanta at the time, about the Merman souvenir, nothing would do but his autographing in two colors his self-promotional pamphlet whose title cannot be printed here.

I’m hoping you have a short memory, as this Merman-RuPaul story is a Domani Dave repeat, but now with a facsimile of the Merman artifact.  The photo of Margo was recently sent to us by our photographer friend Martin.

So, why doesn’t Martin get #8 on the name-drop list?  Not famous enough.

(Images clickable)

Tomorrow I turn seventy-two.

I don’t feel seventy-two and am told I neither look nor act seventy-two.  However, nothing says ‘seventy-two’ like two procedures scheduled for the upcoming two months, cataract surgery and — like the one I had this time last year around my birthday — another cardiac ablation.

My medical tech friend says I should have gotten the extended warranty

Tomorrow is also the second anniversary of Trump occupation of Washington DC.  With something very like complicity on my part, the madness of the past two years has drained the life out of me.  I need some joy.

While I was in the hospital last week, Stephen gave me a new Apple Watch for my upcoming birthday.  I gave him the ‘old’ one I got to monitor my ‘vitals’ after I was in the hospital last year.  That model could read your pulse.  This new model can generate an instant electrocardiogram.

Nothing says ‘seventy-two’ like excitement over an instant EKG

Since deciding that I have not the wherewithal to blend subject matter, here is another unblended post.  This one has a Harper Lee half and a Truman Capote half, the author reunion completely accidental.

For reasons absolutely untraceable, I recalled the scene in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ recently wherein Miss Jean Louise Finch — witnessing poor Walter Cunningham ‘drowning his dinner in syrup’ — says, What in the Sam Hill are you doing?’

How in the Sam Hill did ‘What in the Sam Hill’ become an expression?  Wikipedia explains (click) and, serendipitously, I was introduced to the term ‘minced oath’.  Lightweights like gosh, darn, heck, moving on to ‘F’ and shoot, I had only known them as ‘euphemisms’.

Missing from these examples is ‘Jiminy Cricket’ (click) standing in for ‘Jesus Christ’, or more accurately ‘Jesus Christ’!  (‘F’ frequently interspersed…).

I don’t know about you, but I always find it a little disconcerting when sweet Dorothy Gale (under pressure, yes…) blurts this out in ‘The Wizard of Oz’.

The Truman half:

Last Saturday we attended a party, a large annual ‘Twelfth Night’ celebration hosted by two attorneys in town.  Our invitations to previous iterations had apparently been ‘mislaid’ — a fact that is actually pertinent, rather than petty.  Okay, a little petty…

Post-party, I thought of Truman Capote’s notorious ‘La Côte Basque 1965′, wherein one character asks another how such and such a party went, the reply: ‘Wonderful, assuming you’ve never been to a party before’.  Of another unfortunate character, she snipes, ‘She’ll attend the opening of an envelope!’.

At the party, I chatted with someone who is a fixture at every art opening I’ve ever attended here in town.  Parties?  How would I know [sad face]?  I said I’d just overheard someone say, ‘Most parties, all the same people. Not this one!’

He replied with a kiss (an air kiss, actually…) of ennui: ‘Hmm… no…’

We on the other hand had quite a nice time with old friends with whom we seldom cross paths anymore.  Captions for these (stolen) photos: 1) My beau with the remains of a plate of cheese straws he made  2) Ravaged buffet (cheese straws were coals to Newcastle)  3) Masks requested as a nod to Mardi Gras, I have no idea what we are looking at (mirror?), all I know is, nothing is that funny.

I tried and failed before Christmas to weave a festive narrative with the following elements; you will see the difficulty almost immediately.

1) A week to the day before Christmas, I was a micron away from a trip to the emergency room with food poisoning, apparently from a bowl of pho from a local Vietnamese restaurant.  Clearly delayed revenge for my participation in the U.S. military during the Sixties.

2) Someone backed into our new car in a parking lot causing a couple of thousand (not remotely difficult to do) dollars damage and just left.  Perhaps they didn’t realize they had struck a solid object when their own automobile stopped moving through space.  I don’t want to judge…

3) I was living on the island of Crete in the Mediterranean as part of an Air Force unit eavesdropping on North Africa in 1968, so this year is the fiftieth anniversary of the first time I’d spent a Christmas away from family.  It was a breath of fresh air at age twenty-one.

4) On the Winter Solstice, I wallowed in my annual viewing of ‘Scrooge’, the 1970 musical version of Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’.  This time I noticed that after the Ghost of Christmas Present and Scrooge walk away from peeping through the window at Tiny Tim, the ghost says: ’What an unpleasant child!’

In this case, the line was delivered as a sarcasm, but I considered for the first time how someone viewing this movie might simply agree.  I hope someone backs into their car.

Happy New Year to the rest of you!

Photo clickable.

While ordering member tickets to the Yayoi Kusama ‘Infinity Mirrors’ show at the High Museum in Atlanta, mysteriously got preview tickets additionally.  Did not question why, rather, attended the show on November 15th.  Will be returning on December 4th for another look.

Ms Kusama allegedly lives in a mental institution and practices her craft there.  I’m looking into a similar arrangement…  Here is my beau surrounded by tentacles.

Spent Thanksgiving with friends at the home of friend Franklin A.  Next day he took us to a small six acre park, formerly the grounds of a residence in one of the tonier neighborhoods in Atlanta.  The residence — neat and somewhat severe in a good way — remains on the edge of the property, still privately owned, and ‘sometimes occupied’ Franklin says rather enigmatically.

Autumn did finally arrive, BTW.

In actor Lee Marvin’s acceptance speech for the ‘Best Actor’ Oscar for the 1965 comedy ‘Cat Ballou’, he said, ‘Half this award belongs to some horse out in the Valley’, referring to the then iconic shot in the film of he and the horse he’s on — both drunk — leaning against a wall.

‘Film industry’ word at the time, however, was that in reality half the award belonged to the other of his two wildly different back-to-back performances that year, the second one in the movie ‘Ship of Fools’.

‘Ship of Fools’ was a ‘return to form’ for director Stanley Kramer in the sense that he’d previously directed three black and white (for somberness) movies in a row with ‘important’ themes.  The third in that series was ‘Judgement at Nuremberg’, which like ‘Ship of Fools’ employed ‘Grand Hotel’-style casting, a laundry list of stars.

Set aboard a passenger ship in the days before WWII, the whole thing has such a soundstage look that it leads one to imagine its I’m-watching-a-play feel being intentional.  Whatever the case, it is a kind of buffet of discrete scenes, the ones between Simone Signoret and Oskar Werner heartbreaking.

This movie was the final screen appearance of Vivien Leigh, fittingly (I suppose) the forth of her four screen Southern Belles.  She has a couple of scenes with Lee Marvin, one very memorable climactic one involving his being whacked with a shoe.  However, one of her best scenes is with actor Werner Klemperer, who must have been thrilled to have this pairing in his resume.  (see: ‘Hogan’s Heroes’)

In this scene, Klemperer, who plays a ship’s officer, makes a pass at Leigh’s character, she rebuffs him and he proceeds to read her beads — over-the-hill divorcée on a cruise, etc, etc — and she replies, ‘How extraordinary that a person such as yourself would be saying such things to me… [silence…] probably all true…’  Then, after a beat, she valiantly collects herself, smiles triumphantly, flips the boa she’s wearing over her shoulder and says, ‘Well, I believe this evening’s festivities have come to a close!’ and strides away.

If I’ve used that line once, I’ve used it a hundred times.  No boa.

Lee Marvin’s half-an-Oscar scene in the movie is opposite actor Michael Dunn.  Both drunk, Marvin’s character is lamenting his faded professional baseball career, pantomiming so concisely missed swings at the ball, he finally collapses with a sort of anguished bleat.  Frightening.

In 1966, enjoying his post-Oscar contract power, on intuition Marvin handed over his script approval, final cut approval, etc, etc to John Boorman, the director of his next movie, the hallucinatory gangster movie Point Blank’.

‘Point Blank’ has a permanent spot in my Top Ten films.  I will not reveal how many times I may have seen it since seeing it the first time on the big screen in 1967.  Premiering the same month as ‘Bonnie and Clyde’, unlike the violence in that film, the violence in ‘Point Blank’ is more ‘balletic’ than ghastly.  I’ve just said that, and I’m sticking to it.

I met John Boorman very briefly at a sneak preview of his movie ‘Excalibur’, and gushed all over the poor man based on my fandom of ‘Point Blank’.

Now, that was ghastly.

At this time last weekend, we were attending a wedding in Oxford, Mississippi.  This was the second time we had ever been to Oxford MS.  The previous time was also to attend a wedding.  No one in either wedding lives in Oxford…

Oxford MS is the home of author William Faulkner.  My first cousin Dr. Edwin Turner Arnold III is a William Faulkner scholar.  Growing up with him, I became aware very late that his name was not actually ‘Chip’.  I myself have never had a nickname, in fact, no one ever even called me ‘Dave’ until I was in the Air Force.

In addition to being a Faulkner scholar, Chip is also a Cormac McCarthy authority, and has written books on a variety of subjects including oddly enough one on film director Robert Aldrich (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?) not to be confused with Robert Altman (M.A.S.H., Gosford Park, …5 and Dime, Jimmy Dean…).

During the research for that book, Chip had ongoing telephone contact with actor Lee Marvin, who had starred in Aldrich’s The Dirty Dozen.  He once told me that it was a little surreal to answer the telephone and hear, ‘Chip, it’s Lee…’

Back to the wedding, this one was for the daughter of my lifelong friend Susan and her husband Hudson, who was — actually still is — a film producer.  After decades in Los Angeles, they have retired to Hudson’s birthplace, New Albany MS.

Los Angeles, California to New Albany, Mississippi.  The mind reels.

Though the current couple were married in a lovely little chapel in the absolute middle of nowhere near New Albany (is that a redundancy in this case?), the reception was a fairly enormous tented affair in the parents’ backyard.  As the groom is Canadian (the new couple live in Calgary), there were not a small number of Canadian guests.  Also, many from California.  Culture shock.

Now, as to the title of this post.  At last…

The cast of the previous wedding in Oxford MS included the parents of the bride, Broadway production folk (currently ‘The Lifespan of a Fact’ with Daniel Radcliffe).  The groom, the son of another of Stephen’s business partners, had worked for the Ford talent agency in Los Angeles and then in New York where he met his betrothed, who continues in the family business.

The bride’s parents were/are lifelong friends of (late) actor Edward Woodward and his wife (not late) actress Michele Dotrice.  Ms. Dotrice had apparently requested participation in the wedding ceremony in the form of a recitation.

In the middle of the proceedings, with the bride and groom frozen in-place, Ms. Dotrice recited — nay ‘performed’ — Edward Lear’s ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’.

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
‘O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!’

[etc.]

Nothing remotely that… mm… ‘remarkable’ occurred during last week’s ceremony.

Today is October 18th.  October 18th.

The high temperature today was 70°F (21°C for all you Celsius eccentrics and contrarians).

The temperature is forecast to drop below 50°F tonight for the first time since the recent equinox.

Yesterday the high was 86°F, with all the previous recent temperatures reaching 90°F and above.

For the last decade or so, we have had fake winters here in Georgia.

Now, fake autumns, or rather, ‘bogus’ ones. I suppose.

We live in an old house, with tall ceilings and drafty rooms.

I should be happy about chilly weather arriving late.

I am not.

One word… actually two: Peggy Lee.  Actually… four words: the Peggy Lee bit.

Why am I telling you this?

I started blogging in 2009, but in October 2016, I ditched the previous posts in a fit of cyber housecleaning. Some of it was really nice writing, but alas, as my old friend Susan once said: ‘Compulsion is a cruel master’.

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