Three Days, Three Movies

Self has been so starved for movies.

In a prevous life, she’d be in her local cine-plex every other day.

The past couple of years, though, unless she feels really driven, she’ll go months without seeing a movie.

Here are some of the ways she shows her movie geek street cred:

Oxford, UK: She gave up seeing the Ashmolean in favor of watching Captain America (In all fairness, the movie theatre was so conveniently situated: just across from Gloucester Green)

London: She walked — walked — in full summer heat, from Russell Square to Shaftesbury Avenue, simply to watch X-Men in the Odeon.

Fort Bragg, CA: She went during a lull in a storm. The movie? Kingsmen, with Colin Firth. When she came out of the movie, the wind was blowing flat out. Self thought she was going to be swept into the ocean.

Now, in the past four days, she has seen three movies:

  • Band Aid
  • Beatriz at Dinner
  • Wonder Woman

Sorry to say, she nearly fell asleep during the action sequences at the end of Wonder Woman. But woke right up again when she saw, in the closing credits, the name of her friend’s daughter:

DIRECTED BY PATTY JENKINS

Of the movies she’s seen so far this summer, her favorite would be Beatriz at Dinner. For Connie Britton and John Lithgow’s performances.

Today, she’s going to see The Book of Henry, even though it hasn’t gotten good reviews. She loves Naomi Watts, even though she’s been so under-used by Hollywood lately.

A long time ago, self met a Mills College student at one of her San Francisco readings. Chatting with the young woman after the reading, the student revealed she made money by working part-time as an exotic dancer. And self happened to mention how much she liked Naomi Watts (What’s the connection to exotic dancing? Nothing), and the young woman said even though Watts had turned 40, if the young woman were a man, she’d definitely consider her hot.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Unforgettable Ketchikan

The way Jonathan Evison describes it, it’s a really depressing place to end your Alaska cruise:

  • A working-class town smelling of barnacles and rust, wood rot, and diesel smoke, wet dog hair in heaters, and fish nets hung out to dry. Despite civic-minded efforts to splash some vibrant color about, there’s no disguising the town’s blimp gray underbelly.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

BATH: Magnificent Order

And self does mean magnificent.

The Royal Crescent in Bath takes her breath away. Even after seeing it for the third or fourth time.

The shape is an ellipsis cut in half. Who thought of this curved shape? So perfect. It’s almost mystical.

The architect (whose name self immediately forgot) was inspired, according to the guide on the walking tour, by the Roman Coliseum (which is itself elliptical. Really? Self never knew!)

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Royal Crescent

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Royal Crescent No. 1 (Royal Crescent Museum): Self is so happy that this woman came out of the entrance just as self was getting ready to take this shot.

Self had been on the Grand Parade, many times. But she never looked over the bridge to the river below. She finally did, yesterday, and — GAH! Rapids! Who would have thought?

Only after looking at the river for several moments did she realize that the gulls were walking on the edge of the top rapids. Grand illusion! And there are kayaks over there!

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The River Avon from the Grand Parade

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading: About the Frog Who Turns Out to Be Something Else Trope

  • . . .  there is another very ancient Hindu legend, wherein Bheki, the frog, is a beautiful maiden who consents to wed a King on the extraordinary condition that he shall never show her a drop of water. Being faint, on one occasion, she is said to have asked for water, and he thoughtlessly giving her some, she immediately disappeared.

— Sax Rohmer, The Romance of Sorcery

Friend: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 31 May 2017

Self’s favorite travel buddy: her niece! A week ago, at the Arc de Triomphe (lots of other people in the background, when self asked a stranger to snap the picture, he waited for the worst possible moment):

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Self with her niece Irene: This was our second adventure. The first was Florence, November 2015.

And here the two of us are, on the bridge between the Tuileries and the Musée de Orsay, which is Irene’s favorite Paris museum:

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Heading from the Tuileries towards the Musée d’Orsay, Irene’s favorite Paris Museum.

The last thing self expected to see in Bath, England was a teddy bear. But there it was, waiting for her in her room. Instant BFF!

Photo on 5-14-17 at 1.44 PM #2

Tasburgh House, Bath, England, May 2017

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Still More Evanescent: Paris Day Trip

Today self and her niece Irene went on a one-day tour to Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte and Chateau de Fontainebleau. The guide’s name was Laurence: she was great.

Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte came first. OMG, that estate is just fabulous. It’s privately owned. The main buildings are open to the public; no sign of the family that owns the place, but hey, imagine giving birthday parties there! Must be soooo fun!

At some time in its fabulous past, the estate was in the hands of the same family for eight generations. The last heir murdered his wife so he could be with his mistress, was convicted and imprisoned, and committed suicide in his cell, a year later. Payback’s a bitch!

His chef invented the praline.

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A Photo Shoot Was Happening at the 17th Century Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte! Self was so woke!

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Windows, Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte

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More Windows at Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte: Self took so many pictures there that by the time the tour arrived at Fontainebleau, her camera battery was exhausted. Ugh!!!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Heritage 2: Film Maven, Paris While Cannes

Self was last here in 2012.  She’s declined every opportunity to return, until now.

Look what she encountered around the corner: a film festival running in conjunction with Cannes. The movies are in English, with French subtitles. Perfect.

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Her Dear Departed Dad worshipped Orson Welles, and movies in general. He passed on this HERITAGE to self.

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Self didn’t know until today that it is the 70th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival:

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Self is a film nut. She takes advantage of every opportunity to attend film festivals, wherever in the world she happens to be: Edinburgh; Ojai, California; Cork, Ireland; Palo Alto; San Francisco.

One day, perhaps, she’ll write a script based on one of her stories.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More Reflecting: Seeing “Mayerling” Last Night

The Daily Post Photo Challenge this week is REFLECTING.

Can self just say she arrived sick and barely able to keep upright. But damn — the Royal Opera House!

Seeing it for the first time was — awesome.

Plus, the adjoining bar/restaurant: All that glass! All that light!

Perfect for this week’s Photo Challenge!

Before the start of the ballet, self dashed to the bar to order some hot tea. She wound up sharing a table with an American woman, a ballet aficionado who has season tickets to the New York City Ballet and watches “thirty ballets a year. At least.” Self confided that she wasn’t feeling well and might leave during one of the intermissions.

And the womans said: The pas de deaux in Act III are spectacular. Don’t leave.

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The Bar at the Royal Opera House, 8 p.m. Saturday, May 13

And then, the interior of the Royal Opera House itself:

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Waiting for the beginning of Kenneth Macmillan’s beautiful, stunning ballet, “Mayerling”: Saturday, May 13

More of the Royal Opera House Bar. At intermission, self went up an escalator to the “Bridge” over the bar, from which she got a jaw-dropping view of Covent Garden, at 8 p.m.:

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Center Top, the “Bridge”: A side escalator takes you to it, and from there you can see all of Covent Garden. SPECTACULAR. Especially at sunset.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Back In the Day: Rinker Buck

Apparently the Native Americans and the western settlers moving along the Oregon Trail in the mid-19th century got along quite well.

The amicable relations came to an abrupt end in 1855:

  • In 1855, a detachment of six hundred U.S. Army soldiers commanded by General William S. Harney surrounded a band of Brule Sioux led by Chief Little Thunder near Blue Water Creek, six miles north of Ash Hollow, slaughtering eighty-six braves and capturing most of their women and children. Harney’s expedition was launched in retaliation for an incident the year before, when an inexperienced Army lieutenant, John Grattan, had brashly marched his soldiers into a large Brule Sioux camp outside Fort Laramie, Wyoming, demanding that the chiefs produce the Indian who had shot a Mormon pioneer’s cow, even though the Brules had already offered restitution for the cow by giving the pioneer his pick of their sixty-horse herd. The usual army bumbling was involved. Grattan was a recent West Point graduate, unfamiliar with Sioux ways, and his French-Canadian “interpreter” could not speak the Brule dialect and was drunk.

The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey, p. 213

Danger!: WARNINGS

Self must admit, this past week’s Photo Challenge — DANGER! — has been tricky. She’s decided to keep her interpretations straightforward and focus on signage or warning symbols.

  • Detail of a nautical map in the Time Traveller’s Bookshop, Skibbereen, West Cork: This is one of the most intricate maps self has ever seen. But of course, it had to be. Lives depended on the correct soundings.
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Detail of Nautical Map Showing, Self Thinks, West Cork

  • A Sketch by Bernadette Burns, Artist from Sherkin Island, off Skibbereen, West Cork: It’s a study for a work-in-progress.
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Bernadette said she did this “for fun”!

  • London City Airport attached this to self’s suitcase, when she was on the way to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, in March. Self’s suitcases are always heavy: they’re filled with books. One Irish cabbie dubbed self “a book addict.”
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London City Airport attached this warning label to one of her suitcases, last March.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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