Saturday, July 03, 2010

Wistful summer nights

It's the one-month marker ‘til I leave Pittsburgh, and the two-month marker to Iceland. After a swelteringly hot concert of Music of North Side Spaces, which went totally well (more to come in a post will include pictures!) despite the 90-degree heat, the weather has now cooled for a couple days. That means I can use an actual blanket at night, and sleep soundly for more than 4 hours, not having to wake up in a humid, sticky sweat.

There’s something funny about this weather that always makes me feel wistful. Do others feel like that small lonely-like sensation, as if summer has come and gone too soon, even though you know that's not the case? The night feels like a sneak preview to Autumn without the impending doom of frost. The pleasantly introspective summer-feeling began right after I left Vassar and I had a little apartment to myself in Millbrook, New York. It was a second-floor of a farm-house, with colorfully painted rooms and rickety windows, my own front porch to sweep. I didn't think it would stand the winter, though it must have been more resilient than it looked. That summer I finally felt my first independent living, and the solitude that comes from single life in a small town. The nights would be cool enough for long sleeves, perfect for walks up to the little park on top of the hill with its expertly manicured rock garden and bourgeois playsets. I spied once on some very out-of-place car hotboxing it up with some teenagers inside trying not to get caught. This was Millbrook after all, home of wealthy Manhattanites with summer homes, and celebrities getting away from it all.

One cool summer night I decided to take a drive and ended up in nearby Rhinebeck at the Upstate movie theatre, and I saw 'The Door in the Floor'.
The very next day, I checked out the book it was based on, John Irving's 'A Widow for One Year'. An excellent book. ‘Door’ only covers the first hundred pages of an epic novel, but something about the film latched on to my wistful mindset and I was hooked. It has become one of my favorite movies over the last six years, and hasn't let up its top ranking. ‘The Door in the Floor’ showcases themes I'm very much interested in, which is the Teen Angst/Coming of Age/Identity Crisis Trifecta. Eddie, the cute boy character in this book, doesn't have much crisis of identity other than he doesn't know what he wants to do for a summer job. He know how sexy Kim Basinger's character is. Then, cue the angst about having an affair with a married woman who can't get over the deaths of her two sons; difficulties dealing with a strange, nonsensical children’s-book writer who's separating from Basinger's character, and Eddie definitely grows wiser over the course of the film. The film also stays almost constantly in a neutral color palette; the beaches are so beige and the skies so grey; the whole film could be in black and white if it weren't for the sudden bursts of color from smart wardrobe decisions. Misty beach scenes, lugubrious string orchestra writing and sparse dialogue; it's been the perfect setting to house my wistful summer nostalgia.

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