Monday, March 3, 2014


Thanks to Stephen Hultgren for inviting me to the party!

A lot of people I know despise the Academy Award Presentation for its phoniness, its pretension, its just-this-side-of-good-taste glitz and the self-absorption of Hollywood, the community responsible. I'm well aware of the negatives, but for several years I have observed the events from the comfort of my living room usually in my pajamas and often with a glass or two of champagne--and with my laptop tuned to Facebook where I offer a running commentary of what I see. I am more than irreverent; usually I'm downright insulting. I think these guys are asking for it, and it's very easy to be obnoxious when I'm nowhere near the potentially injured parties.

This year I was thrilled to learn, upon alighting in New Paltz after a month of warmer weather in my hometown of Fairhope, Alabama, that my friends in the Rosendale Theatre Collective were gathering at the 1850 House (an upscale hostelry in Rosendale) for an Oscar party. I wouldn't go, but was happy to learn that there was such a celebration. I had to consider the fact that I couldn't go in my PJ's in this weather, that I would have to drive the 8 miles, and would probably not be in condition to drive back, plus I'd feel funny about leaving before the party was over, and I can't often tolerate the Oscar ceremonies after about 11 P.M.

Every group needs congratulatory celebrations throughout the year. The world needs harvest festivals, spring festivals, sports festivals, and times to get goofy in crowds. Such events are safety valves for pent-up frustrations. They are the fuel of community engines. We attend them over and over for that connection to like minds and hearts--and people involved in the endeavors we cherish.

I don't like sports; I don't like competitions; I don't like mindless drunken parties. I have learned that I am primarily an introvert, and that that's not so bad. I cringe in crowds, unless the party is for me, and then I play the role of somebody who loves being there until at last I do love it. I like to give parties, and I enjoy going to them, but when there I generally hang in a corner and talk to the same person the whole evening.

The Oscar Ceremonies are based on a competition, so, I ask myself, why do I enjoy them? The answer is simple.

It's my tribe. Those people at the 1850 House, cheering the winners, have a connection to actors, the theatre, and movies. They--we--can identify with the winners and the losers, and those who got all dressed up and don't even quite know why they're there. To me, the awards are not the point at all. It's getting to see everybody in their best looks (donated by designers, of course, and styled by any number of people), and it's my job to call them out if they look godawful and to comment to all who will listen that they are stunningly beautiful, which they sometimes are. Some are clearly not having fun, but most clearly are, and that's a great thing to watch.

So there I sit at my laptop, snarking and kibbitzing, and having a high old time speaking my mind if a speech goes on a second too long or a song isn't worthy of even being sung (as a matter of fact I think the "Best Song" category should have been abolished years ago), or if somebody comes in a hideous dress or a boring tuxedo. Some of my Facebook friends are shocked--taking my one-liners seriously--and some join in and take the comment(s) to the next level. It's all in fun, but I mean every word of it.

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