We’ve seen a lot of theatre lately. “Lampedusa” and “Silence” were brilliant, small plays. The latter is one-man performance piece about a homeless man; the other about the horror of immigrants, in a fruitless effort to escape to Italy, drowning on the journey. They were both very heavy, but amazing. So intelligent and moving. The kind of drama that only works in the theatre. “The Number” by Caryl Churchill, whom I love, at the Young Vic got great reviews but was boring.
The most fun was “Sunny Afternoon,” a musical about the Kinks. We went with Sadie and Tim and we all adored it. Although popular, the Kinks weren’t the phenomenon in the US that they were in Britain. Ray Davies is beloved and an inspirational character in many ways. I’ve always LOVED the Kinks. For the moment, we’re musically all Kinks, all the time.
The stories about the US that are playing here: Mainly the stories we read about the States is massively depressing, ridiculous or dumbfounding. People are CONSTANTLY baffled about Americans love of guns. Donald Trump gets air time. Nobody can believe a buffoon like him can get so much attention and be taken seriously by anybody. We are asked about the kind of people that would want Trump. The other story that’s getting a LOT of play is sexism in Hollywood. Not that there’s no sexism here, but let’s focus on Hollywood. It’s a boys club and the boys aren’t about to let the girls in. We threaten them. Poor sods are massively insecure. What they know, or at least intuit, is that women are superior creatively and intellectually. I don’t give a damn what fucking “Ant Man” takes in. When you sit in the Eurostar waiting room in Belgium and watch the promo on a 20 foot monitor, on an endless rotation and watch Paul Rudd spinning down the drain, it’s beyond ridiculous. I thought maybe the film was a spoof, but apparently not. Watching the promo, it looked like an ad for Comet Cleanser (does Comet even exist anymore). I’d rather eat Comet than watch “Ant Man.” My time is too precious and there’s far too little of it left.
I’ve been reading quite a bit but not like Jim who has basically read everything that’s been written in the last decade. One of the books I read is “We’re Completely Beside Ourselves”, which got fabulous reviews and was nominated for a Booker or some other fancy literary award, was a disappointment. I would love to talk to people who read it. Anyone out there? It got me thinking again about the subjectivity of “art.” Which brings me to Turner. I had a completely different reaction to Turner when we saw his paintings in the National Gallery a few days than I’ve had before. Because I’ve started to paint (and shouldn’t even say his name in the same paragraph as mine!), I have an appreciation for him that I didn’t have before. It’s one of the benefits of having taken up…a hobby? I don’t know if it’s a hobby because I’m not sure what that means. But as a result of expanding my horizons and playing around with painting, it’s expanded my appreciation and understanding of real painting. And art, in general.
I ended up having dinner two nights in a row with ex-pats living in London. Both nights we ate in “gastro pubs” which are A big thing and many have fantastic food. One friend is an adorable, young single woman living with her chef boyfriend; the other a married couple with two 17 year old kids who moved from LA. In both instances, they’d been here around 9 years. We asked them if they ever miss the U.S. and to my surprise, they all answered “no.” I guess what surprised me was that they didn’t fit my “image” of ex-pats. It’s also surprising how many Americans I hear and see, particularly young (in their 20s) ones who are living here. Last night in the theatre when Jim was talking to the British couple next to him they asked where he was from. Where the couple sitting in the row in front of us heard Jim say “LA”, they turned around and said they were from Santa Monica and lived in Laurel Canyon before that! The world can be so enormous and microscopic at the same time.
We went to Shoreditch to have dinner with a remarkable friend from Amnesty International. We met her for dinner in Shoreditch, another area of London considered nowhere ten years ago and now very cool and hip. It was overflowing with young hipsters. Or London’s version of hipsters. There are a LOT less tats here than in LA. Often when you see someone displaying their ink, they’re from the States. Fortunately, people in Europe have a sense of history and are less likely to permanently alter themselves.
Kukla and Tootsie had another first – a tube ride. Tootsie did her Tootsie whine the entire ride. The weird thing about the whine is that it doesn’t sound like it’s coming from her. It’s as though she’s a ventriloquist. Sometimes we LITERALLY have to put our ear against her to make sure the sound it emanating from her. The dogs. When we out with them we are besieged. I keep telling Jim we should charge ONE POUND to let people take their picture with the dogs. We could give The Donald a run for his (inherited) $$. All across the world, from Africa to America to Australia people have their picture taken with our dogs. It’s hilarious.