La langue du cinéma est universelle

The other weekend I went to the local theatre to watch “Thank You For Smoking”. The theatre, a small two-screen affair in Berkeley, has actual curtains that creak as they are raised for each showing, and the opening reel features grainy clips from documentary projects of decades past. At the front entrance your ticket will be taken by a film major, easily detected by the narrow black tie, the emo-esque glasses, and other elements of the counter-culture uniform. The other film was Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”.

I don’t think this is a review of the movie, just a consolidated outpouring of various ideas from that weekend. (For the curious, the movie moves along at a decent place, propelled by witty one-liners and never stops to sink its teeth into any tedious moral issues.)

Whenever I’m in Berkeley, or at least in the university area, there are plenty of mostly-happy students around. I don’t expect to see a 100% happiness level, even excluding the street people, but for the most part the kids are happy, cheerful, and full of hope. This is clearly an unstable environment, yet my first instinct is not to restore the balance of despair. I actually consider what it might be like to spend another year or two taking classes and experiencing this life again. Fortunately, this feeling fades about a half-mile from campus.

The day after I drove over to Modesto where a reception was being held for some visiting surgeons from Ukraine. The gallery at which it was held currently features a large number of cellos from the Modesto Symphony Orchestra’s 75th anniversary cellobration. The cellos where converted into decorative pieces by various local artists, and are currently up for auction on eBay. I suspect one of them was done by my old high school art teacher, but have yet to confirm it.

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