Sunday, July 5, 2015

WHAT WAS JOHN CULLUM THINKING?



Golly, I love this photo.

John Cullum, my husband, was in costume, on the set for the movie "1776," that Peter Hunt directed. Was this photo a shot from the movie?

The candle on the table, the shoulders seen on each side of John indicated that other cast members were sitting with him -- the photo said it was John as "Rutledge," the senator from South Carolina, listening to John Adams while thinking about his own vote.

I guess I love the photo because the look on John's face was so real -- so typical -- my husband was thinking, planning, contemplating what? My private thought was that my husband, while waiting for his cue as Rutledge, was thinking about the song he was about to sing.

John told me that this scene in the movie had been done as a long shot -- cameras and lights repositioned for the medium shot and filmed again -- the set up was again changed for the closeups -- he'd already sung "Molasses to Rum" twice. He told director Peter, "Better get it this time, I've just got one more "G" in me."

(JC told me just now that if I listened to the film again, I'd hear how he "slipped into the high note, that "G." He's a Baritone -- a G can be tricky.)       

Wife, fan, lover of John Cullum, loves that photo of the man she fell in love with at first sight, the guy who had evolved from a very good looking, handsome, leading man on a stage, a leading man who could rivet an audience -- into a man who could truly star in a show and draw thousands of theatergoers. Yes, wife Em WAS, IS enthralled by this John in that moment, in that marvelous film, stunned, by the power in him, artist, musician, singer, actor performer that he is.

Hey, I'm a blogger -- why am I jabbering about private thoughts?

I'm doing it to remind you that people with whom you are intimately involved change, grow up as you change, and viewing them freshly grows you up too.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

POWERFUL PEOPLE ARE PONDERING

I saw this photo six months ago in Time Magazine.


It's haunted me -- the row of V.I.P's seated on a stage, with WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM printed over their heads, and above their chairs. I wondered which of the world's huge problems they were trying to solve. They looked important. I wondered if that one woman in the picture was Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook.

I checked. She wasn't in this picture, but she was at this conference, talking as she often does, about the role of women. No doubt about it, she's a very powerful woman who's affecting women throughout the world, but  "gender equality" is not one of my priorities.

Googling, I learned that the World Economic Forum. W.E.F. is an annual get-together in Davos, a mountain resort in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland. The attendees -- top business leaders, heads of state, ministers, CEO's of international organizations, heads of think tanks, religious leaders of different faiths -- come to these meetings to share what they and their countries are doing, learning, seeing, feeling, and fretting about. What they discuss will affect global decisions that will be made in the coming years.

W.E.F. was put together in 1971 by German-born Klaus Schwab, Professor of Business Policy at the University of Geneva. He liked the idea of top guys getting together in the relaxing environment of a luxurious ski resort, discussing this and that.

The get-togethers at the ski resort have grown over the years. Guys who attend proudly call themselves Davos men. The annual meeting this year was three days long with about 2500 notables from about 100 countries discussing technology's affect on people, gender equality, also health, education, poverty, climate change, and more. On YouTube, there are 127 videos of the January 2015 meetings.

I browsed. I have to admit, I get turned off by lectures, chats, discussions that are loaded with facts, numbers, percentages, polls -- all those facts that research corporations gather to make sure that we know that they are in touch with plain ordinary folks like us. So, I find myself wondering if everyone's impressed by W.E.F? Does anyone, other than me, feel sort of left out?

The fact is, ever since Sheryl Sandberg coined the idea of leaning in -- I know she lost her husband quite recently and feel sympathy for her -- even so, I've been leaning out. If women are, in fact, holding up the world, I don't want to be one of the holder-uppers.

Do their decisions affect you and me? Probably. What's discussed trickles down, and when 2500 Davos aficionados went home, as usual, it was shared, and affected local legislation, media, and business, which undoubtedly affected other regions, but it seems far away from anything that touches me and my life.

I read Al Gore's summary of the 5 most important things that come from these W.E.F. meetings  (Hey, I love Gore for what he said and did when George Bush was not quite elected back in 2000.) I read Gore's "First Important Thing." I struggled with his "Second Most Important Thing," got sleepy by the "Third," and never got the gist of the fourth and fifth things -- Gore's writing is about three degrees too abstract for me.

Hey, Sheryl, I bumped into this fact. In 2014, 17% more females were equal with males, up from 9% in 2000. (Mathematically that means it could be 81 years for women to reach economic equality with men.)

Other highly regarded men feel W.E.F's global views are not very significant. One of them mentioned how long it takes new ideas to take hold -- it took 50 years for the benefit of electricity to filter through our county.

Well, Davos guys, even if it does take another 49 years, big thanks for helping to shape and focus the world on the environment, climate, health, and racial equality.

Hey, racial things -- that's major important  right now -- hurray World Economic Forum -- that touches all of us Americans -- that certainly touches me!

Monday, June 29, 2015

(VIDEO) FREE TIME DOINGS



What does John Cullum do when he has 'free" time?

Along with two music-writing projects, fixing things around the house, seeing and doing readings for new plays, John's real passion is tennis. He also loves to read.

Knowing that he used to love to play tennis, Emily gets her husband to explain why he reads, reads, reads, reads.

Friday, June 26, 2015

THE BLACK-WHITE LADY

Oh boy, Rachel Dolezal -- what a topic.

In that face, the look of ...what...  dishonesty? No. But friendliness, kindness? Yes.

She's  37, and was president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chapter in Spokane, Washington, from 2014  until June 15, 2015, when she resigned following allegations that she had lied about her racial identity and other aspects of her biography. (She said her father was black and one of her adopted black siblings, 21-year-old Izaiah, was her son.).

Famous people lying about their background has always bothered us, but because of Bryan Williams' exaggerations, and Lance Armstrong's blatant lies, it's become a bigger than ever no-no. Also, because of the many falsities in the way we present ourselves -- in the clothes we wear and the things we do to improve the way we look -- we tend to be much more skeptical nowadays.

Anyhow, I understand why she had to resign. But I like the look of her, and am sorry that she can no longer do the good things that she has been doing for blacks.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said it, in Time Magazine, wonderfully better than I could say it. "Let Rachel Dolezal be as black as she wants to be." (That's a link to the article.)

He said:  "I am not tall. Although I've been claiming to be 7ft.2in. for many decades, the truth is that I am 5 ft. 8in. when I get out of bed in the morning."

Yes, Kareem is joking, but he explains why he lies, why people lie, and finally, outrageously tells us "I am Spartacus" -- reminding us how we cried at the end of that wonderful movie. The men who loved Spartacus, and fought for what Spartacus believed in, were telling the truth when they cried out "I am Spartacus" as the film ended.

Abdul-Jabbar points out that Al Jolson performed in blackface, and actually told the world that he sang better when he was in blackface; Kareem reminds us that Dr. King said we should be judged by the content of our skin -- even though Rachel lied to her employer and the public, the fight for equality is too important to lose.

Strongly, Abdul-Jabber states that Rachel, who has already accomplished so much for the blacks, was just standing up for what she believes in, and saying I am Spartacus.

I say yay for Rachel -- I am echoing -- delighting in what Kareem said: "Let’s give her a Bill Clinton Get Out of Jail Free card on this one (Ididnothavesex) and let her get back to doing what she clearly does exceptionally well --making America more American."

Hey guys, I'm a Jew who is not Jewish in my work or private life; my eye on our culture is not the eye of an accredited college graduate -- I'm just passionate average woman who writes a blog. The tall, 7.2, Abdul Jabbar has given me the courage to also say, “I am Spartacus. All 5’3” inches of me.”

I hope Rachel Dolezal gets back to work, doing what she has been doing wonderfully well for the blacks, and for all minorities throughout the world.