Archive for November, 2008

On Thursday, I was able to visit the Free Library again to see the renowned actor, Christopher Plummer. He’s probably best known as Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. Incidentally, he hates that movie with a passion, although he’s apparently gotten more of a sense of humor about it in recent years. The interview was very interesting, and he was quite charming and funny. He also certainly did not seem to be almost 80. I even asked a question about his voice-over work and found out he’s going to be in the next Pixar movie. He spoke extensively about his theater work and his favorite roles. He commented that he would really like to be able to play Hamlet now, because when you’re the right age for the role, you don’t have the technique or wisdom to play it correctly. He also appreciates King Lear as a character, but doesn’t think the pacing of the play showcases him correctly. I was able to get a copy of his new memoir, In Spite of Myself, signed for my dad (shhh…it’s a surprise).

On Wednesday, Chris and I went over to the Free Library in Philly for a panel discussion in celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Oxford English Dictionary (nerds!) The panel featured Ammon Shea, whose book Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages, relates some interesting words he would while being the only person to read the OED from cover to cover. Shea had a lot of entertaining comments, and I wish he was given more opportunities to speak. Next was Jesse Sheidlower, author of The F Word and the only North American editor-at-large of the OED. He was very well-spoken and interesting. The final panel member was Barbara Wallraff, author of Word Court and Word Fugitives and a “professional dictionary user.” The only problem with the panel was the moderator and local children’s author, who seemed to think she was presenting to children. She wasted a lot of time with her slow-as-molasses readings of book excerpts and she didn’t seem to know the format for the evening. I wish the panel had taken it upon themselves to moderate the moderator.

Our local Ritz Theatre offers several “Showtime at the Ritz” series.  These include classic movies grouped by theme.  In the past they have done a musical series, a Kung Fu action series, and, our favorite, the traditional October horror series – “Attack of the B Moves.”  The crown this series it always ends with the “Quadruple Bypass,” a marathon of four horror movies ending with the classic Night of the Living Dead at midnight.

Since my wife is a super fan of B horror movies, we attend this event every year.  This year the Quadruple Bypass took place on the day before Halloween.  The featured movies were: The Bat with Vincent Price, a serial killer movie centered around a single house and the secrets that it holds.  Werewolf in the Girls’ Dormitory, a mystery movie set in a school for the rehabilitation of criminal girls where one of the school’s residents is suffering from lycanthropy.  The House by the Cemetery, an avant gard, confusing movie about a monster in the basement of a house.  It is important to say that the cemetery near the house plays almost no role in the movie and the movie’s actual plot is so muddled and confusing that I found it impossible to follow.  Finally, of course, the classic Night of the Living Dead – this is the black and white Romero movie portraying a world where the unburied dead have begun to rise.  This is the movie that really defines how zombies move, attack and are killed.  All in all this was a fun series of movies and a great way to start our Halloween.

~Chris Baldi “The Healer”~

~November 5, 2008~