Saturday, January 07, 2017

Celebrating and Un-

Today is Orthodox Christmas, so it seemed like a good excuse for a bit more celebrating. I'd heard that the British call it 'Little Christmas,' but when I checked, it turns out that was yesterday, and that it sounds to be more of an Irish tradition than an English one. Today is also a friend's birthday so it was a good excuse to visit with her and have a celebratory cup of tea.

But along with celebrating went a bit of 'un-celebrating' as today was the day for packing up the ornaments and taking the wreaths down from the doors. Un-Christmasy, I suppose, but in my own homely way, practical.

Still, perhaps today's best celebrating was taking in a matinee at the local bijou, a place that's actually called the Rialto. This name proved to be more than simply nostalgically traditional, as the cinema featured within the film we saw had its own Rialto a scene which got an appreciative chuckle from the audience.

And yes, the celebratory fantasy was LaLa Land, a fitting title if ever there was one.

At first, I was hesitant, especially with the over-the-top (literally) opening scene (though it did present a nice alternative to road rage), but I soon fell under its charm (or maybe Ryan Gosling's).

Oh, it's corny, to be sure, with numbers reminiscent of Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds. But it's also a lot more than that. There's a story, an actual story, a story that even has layers.

The music, much of it terrific jazz -- especially piano, the instrument I'm the biggest sucker for -- may well be the real star of the film, though Ryan Gosling's piano playing is certainly in the running.

The film's been praised like crazy and has also received nearly as many pans. I'm on the praise side and can't help but think that -- like so many things -- it's all about the timing.

Maybe this little movie, with its clever (even if not-quite Cole-Porterish) lyrics and peppy dancing is a dose of exactly what we need right now.

As 2016 was winding down, it seemed nearly every source was reporting doom and gloom, telling us what a dark time it is. Well, maybe it doesn't have to be. I'm all for un-dark.

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