Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Miss Redmer Takes a Bawth

It's just as well that I slept in this morning, then spent an hour or so reading and writing in my journal. When I got up, it was still pouring cats and dogs. By the time I was having breakfast, the rain had vanished, replaced by blue skies and somewhat warmer temperatures.

Ran cartoons as I ate and cleaned up after my meal. Quite a few of Disney's music video-esque Silly Symphony series of shorts revolve around springtime, including one of their earliest black and white shorts, simply titled "Spring." Other spring-y black-and-white Symphonies included "Playful Pan" and the adorable "The Bears and the Bees."

Spring turned up in several color Symphonies as well. "Birds In the Spring" is pretty much what the title says. A bird pair have babies, then fly to the rescue when one falls out of the nest. "The Goddess of Spring" is more ambitious. Practically a mini-opera, this take on the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades was Disney's first attempt to animate realistic humans. It's not entirely successful - Persephone dances like she's made of rubber in the opening scenes - but the color is beautiful, and the music is quite lovely.

It was past 12:30 when I finally made it out to do this week's laundry. I timed it well. It was still pretty busy when I got in. I noticed they had three new washing machines on the end of the line of the regular, cheaper top-loading models. They had buttons instead of knobs, and to my annoyance, the cold function was only for delicates. I decided to try it anyway, despite it costing 25 cents more. I don't know that it made much of a difference; my clothes didn't seem any cleaner than usual.

By the time I headed out at quarter after 2, the laundromat, which had gotten pretty quiet for a while, was getting busy again. Since it was so late, I went across the street to Amato Bros Deli for lunch. I had a tasty Turkey and Bacon Hoagie while watching the Phillies play the Yankees in pre-season baseball in Florida. My hoagie was tasty but a bit messy; the lady overloaded the Russian dressing. (Oh, and the Phillies eventually won, 4-1.)

When I got in, I put my laundry away, then went right back outside to sweep the porch and enjoy the weather. It was a gorgeous day, sunny, windy, bright, probably in the lower-mid 50s. I didn't have a lot to clean up on the porch, mainly sticks and the last of the sticker balls, but I'd put it off for a while and wanted to get it done.

I went right into the bath after I finished sweeping. I enjoyed my bath last week. It felt just as nice this week, if not nicer. It was wonderful to actually have the time to just kick back and soak while my 20s jazz CD played in the background. I was in there for so long, I didn't get out until the CD was done...almost 2 hours later. That's how much I needed a good, long soak!

My bath put me in too good of a mood for Torn Curtain, which is what I originally planned on watching tonight. I ended up with Till the Clouds Roll By instead. This is one of several composer and musical performer biographies the major studios doted in the 40s and 50s, this one revolving around long-time Broadway and film favorite Jerome Kern. The first half is charming. After opening with a mini-version of Kern's (Robert Wagner) most famous musical Show Boat, we learn more about his life, including the romantic way he met his beloved English wife and how he just barely missed sailing on the Lusitania. The second half is mostly contrived and little-related to the real Kern. Shame, because there's some nice numbers, including two for Judy Garland playing Marilyn Miller, "Look For the Silver Lining" and "Who?"

The huge cast is by far the saving grace here, along with some fairly realistic numbers. They're done the way they would have been in the real Kern shows they represent, from Dinah Shore's beautiful "They Didn't Believe Me" in a flowery Western landscape to June Allyson and the chorus giving birth to many college/school musical cliches in the two Leave It to Jane numbers. Garland's "Who?" with the male chorus is staged just in the way Miller often did her numbers - compare it to the real Miller's "Wild Rose" in the film version of Sally.

The numbers and the sweet first half are the saving graces. Not for those who expect strong plots with their music, but fans of the MGM/Freed unit movies or any of the stars will find much to like here.

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