Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Single Man

I bundled up for the 20 degree weather and left my house heading toward 5th Avenue. It was time to do a little shopping. Fifth Avenue and Christmastime make for an exciting pair. The crowds get on my nerves, but it's the ultimate NYC experience. It's the epitome of the "City sidewalks, busy sidewalks" of "Silver Bells." Most of my Christmas shopping was done online. Ordering gifts from Amazon.com is the easiest. I just have them shipped to my parents' house. Then I wrap them when I get there for the holiday's. A trip that is costing me $933 this year, but that's another story, never mind, anyway.

I walked past Tiffany's and saw the lighted greenery around the door and the bundled greeter at the entrance in his Tiffany blue scarf. I crossed the street and walked past the windows of Bergdorf Goodman. Interesting and gorgeous as always. I was en route to The Paris to buy tickets for the new film "A Single Man" directed by Tom Ford. It's opening night for the film and I've been anticipating it ever since I heard it was happening. Colin Firth and Julianne Moore star in the sixties period piece. Tom Ford is a fashion designer making his directorial debut. A fashion designer as the director of a 60's period piece. I couldn't wait for 8pm. My friend Michael and I planned to be in line by 7pm.

After the ticket purchase, I headed down 5th Avenue toward Rockefeller Center. I hadn't seen the Christmas tree yet so it seemed like as good a time as any as I was heading to New World Stages to do a little "day off, unbothered" work. Along the way I passed Saks 5th Avenue, but their snowflakes were unlit. As for the tree, I have to say that I'm glad it has gone "green" but I do miss the days when the lights were bright and gorgeous even during the day. The skating rink was full of skaters. All it takes is a trip to Rockefeller Center to put me in the Christmas spirit.

It's kind of nice to be at work when it's actually a day that I'm technically not working. I was able to sit downstairs in the admin office and work when I wanted and chat when I wanted. Mostly I concentrated on my work as I really wanted to complete the tasks that I came in to accomplish. Once they were complete there was nothing stopping me from joining the conversation and laughs that were coming from the next room. As the holiday's are approaching and last minute cards and gifts are being sent out to friends, clients, and colleagues of the theatre, what better day than Friday to work on that project. That's exactly what was happening today after 3pm. It was good to just have the time to sit and chat and hang out with the office peeps.

Michael and I left the theatre around 6:30pm and decided on Chipotle for a quick bite before the movie. After dinner and a quick subway ride on the E train to 53rd and 5th, we headed to 58th and 5th to get in line for the movie. Along the way, lights were twinkling and people were in awe of a twinkle light pattern or a scene in a store window. I especially enjoyed the large, twinkling belts the looked as if they wrapped around the Fendi store. Nice touch.

Let me just say that it was in the 20's here pretty much all that day. I was told my Michael that the wind chill had been 8 degrees. Our movie was at 8pm. It was dark and a cold wind was blowing. The thing about The Paris is there is no where to wait inside. Audience members line up outside on the sidewalk. Ladies and gents, it was cold. And I had to pee. Being cold and having to pee is no time to be waiting to get inside. I made it though. Thank God!!

Michael suggested we sit in the mezzanine before I could ask him if we could sit in the mezzanine. So we headed straight upstairs to the front row. Perfect view of the large screen.

SPOILER ALERT!!

How do I even begin with "A Single Man?" I loved it. I thought it was a beautiful film. Firstly, I thought it was visually beautiful. Everything you read about "Mad Men" talks about how meticulously the set decorators and art directors pay attention to detail. It seems the same to me in this film. Just like "Mad Men," it's set in the 60's. It's 1962 to be precise. A day in the life of a grief stricken, deeply closeted, homosexual man. A day in the life. A solitary life. Almost void of color. The film shows George in a kind of sepia tone soaked haze. It's like looking through gauze. However, when he makes human contact, the film subtly and suddenly bursts with color.

George is lonely. He seems to have no reason to live. Work and friends aren't enough. Living through the routine of his day seems to be like trying to walk under water. Not that I know what that is like. It is just how I felt. Could be that the imagery of him at the beginning, struggling under the water, permeated my thoughts and reflected upon his life. Maybe that's what it was supposed to do. I don't know. Put him in a situation with genuine human contact though and you can't imagine that he wants to end his life. Everything seemingly bursts with life. Colors are vibrant. That is life.

I haven't experienced the loss of a mate in my life. Thank God! I don't know what daily life would be like after that. What I do know is that I wanted him to live. I wanted him to want to live. I wanted him to find love again. It seemed to me that he was ready to live by the end. He locked the gun away. The gun that would have taken his life. He burned the post-suicide notes to friends. He actually seemed happy. Then, wouldn't you know it, life beyond our control strikes.

So many moments in "A Single Man" moved me. Specifically, there was a shot of Colin Firth's face as his character, George, learned of and reacted to, his lover, Jim's, death. The camera just sat there watching him as we, the audience watched him. The realization sank in and the reaction was just what you'd expect. It broke my heart. Julianne Moore as his pal Charlotte (Charly) was a portrait of an aging woman full of regret.

I could see myself in both characters. The lonely existence of George. Everyday I strive to fill my life with something. Sometimes it's just superficial things. The woe-is-me existence of Charly. She complained a lot about the state of her life. I do that all the time. Sometimes I wonder if I can be happy without something to complain about. As I sat there listening to her. I could feel the spotlight shining on me as I thought about how I react to my own life.


I need to find the balance between a reason to get out of bed and being thankful that I have the bed to get out of. There is always something to be thankful for and always a chance that human connection in the form of love is just around the corner. I don't know where that corner is, but I know that if I continue to shut myself off from human contact I will never turn it.