Dixie Darr

As Time Goes By

In Arvada on May 25, 2018 at 4:29 pm

A thirtysomething student once told me that he never watched black and white movies. It made me sad that he would never see some truly great movies that were made in black and white, movies like To Kill a Mockingbird and Psycho and, especially, Casablanca.

I’ve seen Casablanca several times on television, but never on the silver screen until our local Harkins Olde Town theater featured it on their Tuesday Night Classics and I couldn’t resist.

It was glorious. Ingrid Bergman’s Ilsa glows as she gazes at Humphrey Bogart’s Rick. A fairly complex story encompassing love and war and honor as well as murder, intrigue, Nazis and the best-ever rendition of La Marseillaise it’s told simply and filmed on a low budget Hollywood back lot yet still manages to convey the intensity of that critical time in world history and the intensity of the characters’ relationships.

Everyone knows the film’s most beloved lines: “Here’s looking at you, kid,” “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine,” “We’ll always have Paris,” “Round up the usual suspects,” “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” and “Play it, Sam” (not play it again, Sam).

Casablanca won the Academy Award for best picture in 1944 as well as Oscars for directing and best adapted screenplay proving that sometimes the Academy gets it right. Thank goodness the studio didn’t go with their initial choice of Ronald Reagan to play Rick. I don’t even want to think about it. Based on a failed stage play, Everybody Goes to Rick’s, many consider it the greatest movie of all time, and I think it’s pretty close to perfection.

If you get a chance, see it on the big screen. You can thank me later.


Scrolling Along

In Church, Learning on May 22, 2018 at 1:27 pm

Several topics dominate my recurring interests – among them, reading, writing, books, creativity, learning, solitude, housing, and religion. Sunday’s visit to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to see the IMAX movie Jerusalem and the exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls fell into my religion wheelhouse, or at least I thought it did. I went with a group from my church, although it quickly became apparent that religion was not really under consideration here.
The movie began by naming the three religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, that claim the city as their place of origin. You can’t talk about Jerusalem without pointing that out, but the movie was about the history and archeology of the city and featured a young woman of each religious tradition telling about her way of life in the city they share.
Computer animation did a masterful job of showing both the land as it would have appeared 3,000 years ago and the subsequent structures built there, each on top of the rubble of the previous one.
Rubble figured prominently in the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, too, chiefly as bits of the crumbling jars containing the scrolls as well as other clay artifacts. These items formed the bulk of the exhibit and told the history of the area. The scrolls themselves were on tiny fragments of parchment painstakingly pieced together and translated.
The accidental discovery of the scrolls in 1947 by a Bedouin shepherd chasing a runaway goat, could lead us to believe in divine intervention. The story of what happened to the scrolls after their finding, told in a short film, made all of us gasp at the shoddy way they were treated and makes us wonder that they survived.
Now that I know a little about their history, I want to study the contents. How do these manuscripts differ from the Bible books we know and how might Christianity be different if these texts were available to the men who chose which books belonged in the Bible? Do they fill in any blanks?
That’s what museums are supposed to do, give us some knowledge and whet our appetites for more. Mission accomplished.

Book It

In Arvada, Books, Learning, Libraries, writing on May 21, 2018 at 7:20 am

I told a friend I was going to the Arvada Book Festival, “a one day celebration of literary arts,” on Saturday, and she asked if they would be selling books there. Yes, I said and other book-related items. She looked confused and then nodded and said, “bookmarks.”
Indeed they did have bookmarks, one included with the complimentary tote bag. Unfortunately, I don’t use bookmarks, haven’t for years. I use Post-It flags to mark my place or I read on Kindle and it saves my place. They had other things, too, but it was mostly local authors trying to sell their books. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I get my books from the library.
The Jeffco Public Library was there, and I signed up for their summer reading program. You choose your own books and record the number of minutes you read. If the total for everyone reaches 40 million minutes, the library will give $500 to Foothills Animal Shelter, plus readers earn prizes along the way. If I did the math right, that works out to $1 for every 1,333 hours of reading, so we won’t be doing it for the money. Still, that’s more than I normally earn for reading, which as we all know, is its own reward.
I didn’t stay for the afternoon workshops or panel discussions because, frankly, I’ve had my fill of those kinds of things.
Everybody kept asking me if I was a writer, and I never know how to answer that question. Yes, because writing is the way I make sense of the world, but no, because I’m not interested in publishing, which is what they were really talking about. I was briefly interested in a local group of mystery writers (Sisters in Crime) until they told me their quarterly meetings are a whole day long. No, thank you. (See workshops above).
I was also happy to learn that Arvada has an Arts and Cultural Commission. I voted for making Arvada the most art-friendly city in the area.
I’m glad I went, but let’s face it, my favorite way to celebrate the literary arts is to stay home and read.