Friday, April 05, 2013

Give Your Baby Lots of Lovin'

It really felt like spring when I headed out today. The wind had subsided somewhat, the sun was out, the sky was bright blue, and the trees are just starting to bloom. It was a lovely morning to run errands. My first stop of the day was a quick one at America's Best. I tore my last pair of contacts yesterday. It was past time for ordering my next pairs.

I didn't need a big grocery order today. Mainly just restocked fruits and vegetables. Bags of oranges are $1.99. I bought cute little clementines. Grape tomatoes were on a good sale, too, as were bags of spinach. The Acme's started selling containers of sliced vegetables; I got a cauliflower/broccoli mix. Thought I'd try Poland Spring sparkling water on sale for a dollar; the generic floss was a dollar as well. Also grabbed the Acme's generic organic tea on sale, along with their bubble bath. I can't remember the last time I had a real bubble bath. Thought I'd try something different with my baths.

When I got in, I made lunch while watching Applause. This 1929 melodrama features Helen Morgan (the 1936 Show Boat) as Kitty Darling, a burlesque queen who is far from being in the prime of her career. She's desperate to protect her convent-educated daughter April (Joan Peers) from her sleazy show-business life, but it's hard when her obnoxious user boyfriend (Fuller Mellish Jr) is all but jumping in the girl's lap. Kitty's lover wants April to go into burlesque, too, but April is more interested in a cute sailor she met while he was on leave. Kitty's determined that April should have a better life than anything she could get in burlesque...even at the cost of her own.

What saves this from being a typical mawkish early talkie melodrama is director Rouben Mamoulien's insistence on dynamic editing and some really fine performances, especially from Morgan as the weak Kitty (Morgan had no problems donning a fright wig to play a burlesque dancer twice her age) and Peers as the sheltered April. Mamoulien fought with Paramount and with his crew to make this more than the sum of it's mawkish parts. While some parts are still a little stiff, others are well-done, especially for the era (compare this to Sally or Hollywood Revue of 1929).

A warning - this is not a tale of glitter and glamour ala Sally, nor is it the most uplifting story in the universe. The movie is unstinting about what low-level burlesque halls were really like, especially in a scene where April goes to the theater to watch her mother perform and is assaulted by images of overweight "beef trust" chorus dancers (real ones from burlesque) and grimy men panting over them. It is, however, history, and an interesting story under the tawdry characters. If you want to see how the early talkies started to move from stiff to dynamic and can handle the seedy plot, this is recommended.

Switched to the infinitely more cheerful Phineas and Ferb while cleaning the kitchen. Here, the emphasis is on the other animal agents who appear from time to time on the show, either to help Perry or on their own. The most prominent is Isabella's dog Pinky, who fights Dr. Poofinschmirtz (a female Doofinschmirtz, naturally) when she steals the nuts of a certain tree to make her favorite hairspray...nuts that Isabella and her Girl Scouts troop needs for their badges. Meanwhile, Phineas and Ferb go to their local warehouse store with their mother. While Phineas has fun with the equipment on display, Ferb falls for Doofensmirtz's goth teen daughter Vanessa, who wants to show her dad that she's responsible enough to have her own car.

Work wasn't nearly as much fun. It was almost as much of a pain as Wednesday. Thank goodness the crowds didn't last as long. I spent the last hour or so doing returns.

Oh, and mixed feelings on next week's schedule. While it is lighter, and the days off aren't spaced quite so far apart, I have a few late days this week, including Monday until 10PM.

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