Sunday, June 18, 2017

Jailhouse Rock/Saturday Night Fever

I had a GREAT day Saturday!!

#1: Though one of my reasons for getting this new apartment was its pool, I'd been wary of going to it primarily because of the gang of skanky guys that like to hang out there and party sometimes. (The same bunch that live in the 2nd-floor apartment overlooking my small backyard---also preventing me from ever sitting out there.) So, even though I've been here for 2 months, I'd still never been swimming. But Saturday, I woke up about 10am, just CRAVING some pool and sun...The mailroom's next to the pool, so I did a test run outside to get the mail and peek at who was out at the pool... Nobody!! I changed into my swimsuit as fast as I could (before any "gang o' skanks" could ruin anything) and got out there...

Nobody but me at first! I got to splash around and get some sun while I caught up on a New Yorker I'd saved from August 2015: "....The longer I stayed, the more I sensed that my fellow attendees [at a League of the South meeting] occupied a parallel universe in which [they think] Donald Trump is going to be President." HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!! So that was Simple Pleasure #1! :)

I was out there for 2 hours, and the only other people who showed up were one very pale red-haired, bearded hipster guy who covered his face the whole time he was lying there (only about 1/2-hr); a grandma showing her 8-yr-old around the pool (they circled the pool once, then sat on the edge splashing their feet only for about 15 mins, then went back upstairs); and a 30-ish black woman who sat in the shallow end looking at her phone--- and who brought a single wine-glass and a small bottle of wine with her! (That seemed like a nice, interestingly classy thing to do; I personally would not have risked bringing a nice glass out to the pool, but the fact that she had brought it made me think she might be an interesting person.)

Not a single thing at the pool for 2 whole hours got on my nerves! A miracle! :)

#2: Austin's Paramount Theater has a "Summer Classic Film Series" every year. In the "olden days" (pre-10 years ago, I suppose), I used to eagerly mark up the theater's supplement of their summer films, highlighting which 10 or so I planned on seeing. In a REALLY good year, I'd go twice or three times all summer. In a regular good year, I'd go see at least SOMETHING. And always appreciated the experience --- it's the one nice theater left in Austin, built in 1917; an evocative place for film-seeing.

Well, this year, I sought out a supplement for the first time in years, while at work. For an "activity," I marked up what I'd feel like seeing, while negatively thinking "Oh, I'll probably never go."

Then Saturday morning, I woke up thinking---gasp!--- "What the hell? The theater is right on the busline to downtown... no worries about parking... this time you don't HAVE TO take the bus; you're doing it out of nostalgia... You are completely FREE and can do whatever you want today...TREAT YOURSELF TO SOMETHING FUN!"

So I did: A double feature of "Jailhouse Rock" (60th anniversary, 1957) and "Saturday Night Fever" (40th anniversary, 1977). I had goosebumps much of the time at how extraordinarily talented and beautiful Elvis and Travolta were.(AND: Not a single person in the audience at the movies got on my nerves! Another miracle!)

"Jailhouse" wasn't much of a movie, but seeing Elvis perform the title song and "You're So Square" (and watching his early acting efforts) was exciting. I kept imagining what a teen Elvis fan going to see the film in 1957 with her friends must have been like. I felt like applauding after the title-song performance (see video below), but the audience, while friendly, was rather subdued and didn't clap much, so I held back.

As for "Saturday Night Fever": The audience was slightly bigger than for the earlier part of the double feature, and much more into it: Applauding especially at the opening sequence (to "Stayin' Alive"), Travolta's solo dance at the disco (to "You Should Be Dancing"), and the closing credits. The movie itself was fantastic! I'd seen it many times on TV, but never at the theater... The acting and characters were great; the writing (Norman Wexler) was especially great --- every single scene was tight and memorable and emotionally evocative, even the minor scenes like Tony and Stephanie going for coffee and trying to talk about "Romeo and Juliet," or Tony telling her about the Verrazano Bridge... And Travolta's acting was, upon this millionth view, one of the best performances I've ever seen. Seriously. His eyes are so expressive: Steely when belligerent, sparkly when teasing, soft and dumb when embarrassed or tender. Aside from his physical attributes, it was amazing to watch his eyes and face.

So yeah: Definitely a Great Day! See below videos for a taste (suggest full-screen).

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