– Last Saturday was Parade the Circle, which is an astonishingly elaborate parade put on in Wade Oval in conjunction with the Cleveland Museum of Art. My best friend has been walking with the group from the Beck Center of the Arts from several years now and this year, as the theme was fairytales and I love them, I joined in. We started creating our costumes in February and finished just the the nick of time.
I was Little Red Riding Hood with a wolf looming over my shoulders.
She was the witch from Hansel and Gretel and created a full house to pull behind her with the eponymous siblings balancing on the ridge pole. Unfortunately, as we were stepping off one of the wheels from her house fell off and she was forced to leave it behind, which was a huge bummer since she’d worked so incredibly hard on it.
I feel as though I can share this picture because her face is relatively obscured.
Overall all though it was a really interesting experience to be a part of Parade the Circle, at least one time. There are so many spectators and everyone in the parade really gives it their all and create some very wonderful things. Everyone from Cleveland should check it out, and everyone that’s not from Cleveland should be jealous that they’re not from Cleveland.
– Also! The trailer for The Peanuts Movie was released this year and it is the cutest, happiest, thing I have seen in a very long time. I love Peanuts, as my Van Pelt Wisdom pieces might have tipped off any longtime readers (if I even have any of those). I was a little skeptical about this movie but the trailer has renewed my confidence. Hello gang, I’ve missed you.
Reading: The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud
I bought this book from a library book sale based solely on the description and praise on the dust jacket. It wasn’t until I got it home that I started wondering whether or not I should read it at all. There were so many negative reviews complaining of over writing, slow pacing, and deplorable characters. So, it sat on my shelf for a several years until I looked over, saw it, and decide it was time. I am glad I did. I liked the book a lot. Many complaints were about its pretensions and that apparently you have to be a rich New Yorker or a Brown graduate to find any appreciation here. I am neither, and I found plenty to love.
Murray Thwaite is a journalist of great repute, living the perfect life in his luxe apartment on Central Park West with his beautiful, benevolent wife, Annabel, and his foundering thirty year old daughter Marina. Having spent the majority of her adult life working on a book she will probably never finish, Marina moved back in to her parents apartment after a breakup and just never moved on. Though she finds nothing wrong with that. Frederick “Bootie” Tubb, Murray’s nephew, has just feld college and his mother’s house in Watertown, New York for the big city, determined to find his place in life as an autodidact. Danielle, Marina’s college friend, an Ohioan with a good job but unlucky in love seeks to help her. Julian, the third in their triumvirate, is a hard partying reviewer for the Village Voice, drawn to glamour, even if it doesn’t necessarily make him happy. Happiness, in fact, is hard won for everyone in this comedy of manners that follows a smattering of characters as they navigate their lives leading up to September 11th.
Let’s just start in with the characters, since this is a character driven novel. They were all fully realized for me. They seemed like real people (though I read another review that accused several of being flat, I didn’t find that to be the case at all). None of them, however, are really what you could call good people. We have cheating, lying, rudeness, entitlement, judgement, and gross selfishness all present here. Marina, in particular, was pretty distasteful to me. There was hardly a moment where she was stopping to think about her friends feelings, and when she did express concern about this person or another it was always in connection to herself. But then again, she’s her father’s daughter. Julian engaged in one self destructive action after another. Danielle exercised poor judgement, though she’s probably the character I could relate to the most. Bootie, honestly, I found to be the most compelling character, but by the end I was almost entirely convinced he had some severe mental issues. So, no, the characters were not good people. But they were not boring. I do not require my characters to be good people, I just require them to be interesting. But also, it’s clear that this book is a comedy of manners. We are given characters who we don’t necessarily like or relate to at all so that we can judge them, just as they judge other people.
Watching: UnREAL (Mondays on Lifetime at 10pm)
So, I’m about to give another favorable review to something that airs on Lifetime. I know, what is happening lately, huh? But I have to say, whatever is happening over there I approve. After last summer’s The Lottery, based on the 2006 film Children of Men, it was clear to me that the network was really trying their damnedest to change their image. Of course, The Lottery really wasn’t good but it was a step in the right direction. This summer comes along UnREAL, about, primarily, producers on a show, called Everlasting, based clearly on The Bachelor. It’s soapy enough to fit the network pretty well, but features a cast characters that are pretty horrible people.
The series centers on Rachel (Shiri Appleby, who I have basically been following since Roswell in my high school days), a producer working on Everlasting who had a meltdown during the previous season ever her ex-boyfriend, still working on the show with her but with a new fiancee, where she basically destroyed the final proposal and drove away in a car belonging to the show. She’s back, albeit with probation, a hefty fine, and mandatory psych evaluation, due to her ball busting boss, Quinn (Constance Zimmer), who is willing to take a chance on Rachel because of Rachel’s incredible manipulation abilities. And that, essentially, is Rachel’s job; to disrupt the goings on by manipulating the contestants into behaving erratically and thus extremely entertaining to audiences. All of this, of course, is at odds with Rachel’s ability to be a decent human being. Complicating things is Adam, the “suitor”, a British playboy who is trying to fix his bad boy image by appearing on the show, with who Rachel shares a flirtation, and her unresolved feelings for her ex, Jeremy. Meanwhile, the ambitious Quinn, who’s idea the show was in the first place, has been playing second fiddle to Chet, the official creator of the show, with whom she is also having an affair.
This show could only possibly happen in the summer. It’s the perfect blend of sarcasm, scandal, narcissism, and froth, with a little bit of grit thrown in for good measure. The first four episodes were released online at roughly the same time so it was easy to blow through them and crave more. I can’t really say that I actually like any of the characters, but I can’t say that I don’t like them either. They exist in that gray world between the two. And I like that place. I don’t have to be able to root for my characters, as you can probably tell from my above book review. Sometimes, in fact, I prefer them bad.
Sara Radle is cute. I sort of forgot she existed until recently when I was reminded of her existence by the aforementioned preview for The Peanuts Movie and remembered her ex-band, which was called, adorably, Lucy Loves Schroeder. I realized I hadn’t heard anything about her since about 2003 and decided to look her up. She’s since released five solo albums of very charming songs. Here’s one of them.