Sunday: a mix of the blah and the blessed.
We worked our asses off at the restaurant putting together 200 lunchbox kits for "Huron Valley Days" (like this town doesn't have enough festivals already) at Gallup Park. I learned today that only 40 were sold, which is pretty irritating.
Cinema Guild showed the first film version of Graham Greene's The Quiet American (1958) with Michael Redgrave as Fowler, the self-pitying, cartoonishly world-weary British journalist, and Audie Murphy (very good, I thought) as Alden Pyle (not mentioned by name in the movie), the title character. Greene's one of my favorite writers, but sometimes I wonder why. His main characters are generally pretty wretched articles awash in booze and self-pity. Maybe I see myself in them at times, but I think it comes down more to the mystique he manages to weave around his locations, even wartime London in The End of the Affair. The Quiet American was set in Vietnam during the closing years of the First Indochina War (1946-54), and was one of Greene's most quintessentially anti-American pieces. I'd seen Philip Noyce's recent 2002 movie with Michael Caine and Brendan Fraser, and contrary to expectations, the older version, directed by Joseph Mankiewicz, stacked up pretty well against it. Murphy (better known, perhaps, as the most decorated U.S. soldier of the Second World War) I've always thought a little underrated--he was also very good in John Huston's The Red Badge of Courage (1951). Redgrave I'd only seen in major roles in The Lady Vanishes (1938), Dead of Night (1945), and The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner (1962) (all fantastic movies; the first two are in my top 100). This was the first time I'd seen him really carry a movie, and he was first-class as the sometimes admirable, sometimes loathsome Fowler.
I arrived at the Madison House for the show and it seemed deserted, although people started to trickle in later. I felt much less awkward than I had at the last two shows, and had a very pleasant evening. The lineup Brandon assembled was a little unorthodox that Sunday, as several of the musicians didn't show until late and one of the featured performers, Bob Cameron, had a standup act centered around the ten signs the world is unfair (very, very funny). "Mr. Josh" Tillinghast, with whom I had a pleasant conversation on the porch, was probably the main standout, as I'd never heard him before. He played with two members of the Great Lakes Myth Society (I believe they were Greg McIntosh and Timothy Monger) and blew us all away. I asked him a profoundly stupid question (as you all surely know, they really do exist) along the lines of "what kind of music do you play?" and the answer seems to be a twisted sort of country-folk that had me laughing, thinking, and being all wistful at the same time. Jason Voss and a superb accompanist on the xylophone (I wish I remembered his name) came before, I think (I'm getting these all out of order)--I'd forgotten what a superb instrument the latter could be, played properly. "Riles" from Milwaukee delivered an introspective set of heartbreak and longing, one of which I think every show is required to have. The last to go on was Eliza Godfrey, who'd played before in accompaniment to Emily Powers during the first show. I'd heard someone describe her as being similar to Kelly Caldwell, but I thought there was as much of Sari Brown there, hitting high notes and an appealing vocal dissonance with a decided enthusiasm--much less country, somewhat more rock and roll (I'm very, very sorry to have said that, but it's actually a pretty good way to describe it). I was much chattier this time than I had been; I'm starting to miss the days when I was awkward and withdrawn. Okay, maybe I'm still awkward. Anyway, I met a couple of new people--Becca, who's been to all the shows and was very friendly (and baked an excellent batch of vegan cookies for the occasion), and Sara, who I recognized as one of our occasional customers from the restaurant. Hrmph. It's not sucking so much to live here anymore, but I'm sure that won't last long.
I didn't get a lot of sleep last night, and I intend to rectify that tonight.