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Tag: Dev Patel

A montage of public events in Texas

What’s it Gonna Take?

By G. S. Norwood

With the number of new COVID-19 cases dropping, and Memorial Day in the rearview mirror, what’s it gonna take to get you out of the house and back into large entertainment venues this summer? I’m thinking specifically of movie theaters and concert halls, but that’s just me. What about sports arenas and churches? County fairs, rodeos, and festivals? Are you prepared to dive back into public pools and farmers’ markets? Just how comfortable are you going into public spaces, indoors or out, where a lot of people gather, with or without masks?

Montage of public events in Texas.
Texas, like the rest of the country, offers a variety of crowded events (see below for credits).

Let’s Take it For a Spin

My youngest granddaughter graduated from high school a couple of weekends ago. She was home-schooled, and the home school association that sponsored the graduation ceremony aligns with the evangelical Christian movement. All of which is to explain why I found myself in a crowd of happy people, celebrating their children’s rite of passage without a mask in sight, and—at a guess—not many vaccinated people in attendance.

But I love Warren’s daughter and her family. My granddaughter wanted me to be there. So I went. Never mind that, only a few months ago, the whole thing would have been a prime candidate for a super-spreader event. I decided to take my fully-vaccinated status, and the latest CDC guidelines, out for a spin.

Go Live? Or go Livestream?

But that was family, and I hadn’t seen any of them in quite a while. What’s it gonna take to get me out to an event that doesn’t involve relatives? Well . . . Maybe money?

Crowded concerts by The Dallas Winds.
Will you be ready to return to concerts like these at the Dallas Winds? (see below for credits).

July Fourth is a big day for the Dallas Winds. Every year, except for last year, we have a concert at Dallas’ Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. Lots of patriotic music. Lots of fun. A giant flag drops from above the stage. CO2 cannons fire streamers into the air. A delightful guy in maybe the best Uncle Sam costume I’ve ever seen hands out flags to kids and grownups in the lobby. He used to do it on stilts. It’s a big, old fashioned celebration of patriotism and American music. The concert usually sells out the 2,061-seat house.

As Director of Concert Operations, I’ll be involved in it up to my eyebrows. It’s my job, and I’ll be paid for it. You can bet I’ll be there. But will you?

You will have the option to attend in person, whether the city limits us to no more than 500 socially distanced ticket holders, or lifts the limits and lets us sell the whole house. You’ll also have the option to purchase a pay-to-view livestream of the concert. Are streamer cannons and flag drops enough to get you out of your house after a year without the magic of a live concert? Or will you be content to sit back and watch it on a small screen at home?

200 piccolos and Uncle Sam on stilts join the Dallas Winds on July 4, 2016. (see below for credits).

Two Hours in the Dark With Your Dreams

Speaking of magic, what about movies? As much as I adore a live concert, my idea of the perfect getaway is to sit in the dark for a couple of hours, watching somebody else’s story unfold in front of me on a giant screen. With popcorn, of course. But I haven’t been to a movie theater since November 2019, when I went to see Knives Out.

Movie posters for “The Green Knight,” “Black Widow,” and “Knives Out.”
The author is looking forward to a return to movies in theaters (see below for credits).

Oh, I’ve watched feature films since then, but that was streaming video at home. I had to make my own popcorn and get my own soda refills. Didn’t have to gamble on having time to hit the restroom during the big fight sequence in the middle. I could pause the action for as long as I wanted, go to the bathroom, take the dogs out, maybe order a pizza and wait for delivery. And I was certainly not glued to my chair, bound by time limits to absorb the whole experience right now, the way you are in a movie theatre.

Cinemark is the dominant theater chain in my area. They’ve devoted a lot of their website to detailing the steps they take to make their theaters clean and safe for patrons. You want to check it out? There’s a banner at the top of every page you can click for more information. Or read it here.

Is it enough? Maybe. But maybe it will take all that plus Black Widow. Or The Green Knight. Will Dev Patel on a horse be enough to tempt me out of the house in the middle of the summer?

The Green Knight releases on July 30, 2021. (see below for credits).

What’s it Gonna Take?

2020 was the year of the introvert. We all got to stay home, deal with work remotely, and insulate ourselves from the pandemic craziness outside. But things are opening up again now. Although only 35% of people in Texas are fully vaccinated, we’re going to have to go back out there sooner or later. You tell me. What’s it gonna take?

IMAGE CREDITS:

We have lots of thanks to share, this week. Both videos come from the YouTube channels of their originators. The Dallas Winds and the World Record for Most Piccolos Playing “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” and The Green Knight Official Trailer in HD from A24. Much obliged!

All image montages were assembled by Jan S. Gephardt.

Crowded Texas Venues

Many thanks to The Dallas Morning News, for both the photo of the Dallas Cowboys game from 2019, by photographer Tom Fox, and the Shed at the Dallas Farmers Market, by photographer Ron Baselice. We thank Second Baptist Church’s Facebook Page and Wide Open Country for the photo of people at a service. Our gratitude goes to Texas Hill Country for the photo of rides at a county fair after dark, and Travel Texas for the undated photo of the unidentified barrel racer. Thanks also to The Dallas Observer and photographer Brian Maschino for the photo from the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

Dallas Winds at the Meyerson

Many thanks to The Dallas Winds for the image of their logo, the photo of the crowd listening to a fanfare at the Meyerson, and the “Star Spangled Spectacular” concert (also used in a previous post). The photo of a Dallas Winds audience is courtesy of Culture Pass: Dallas Culture. We thank you all.

Three Movie Posters

Our deepest gratitude goes to Amazon for the posters for the movies Knives Out and Black Widow. The not-at-all-green poster image for The Green Knight is straight from A24, the studio itself. We are grateful to all!

Kamala Devi Harris takes the oath of office to become the 49th Vice President of the United States on the Capital steps.

Why We Need to Represent

By G. S. Norwood

On his last full day in office, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted that multiculturalism “is not who America is.” 

He is wrong, of course. America has always been a multicultural nation. Our music, literature, art, and beautifully varied forms of worship make that clear. They’re all informed by the people who stepped forward to represent their cultures. They shared their experiences of growing up African, Asian, Latinx, Native, gay, bi, or transgendered.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor
(American Libraries Magazine/photo by Elena Seibert)

The day after Pompeo made his ridiculous statement, Justice Sonia Sotomayor—the first Latina on the Supreme Court—swore in Kamala Devi Harris as the 49th Vice President of the United States. As Vice President, Harris will represent a whole new realm of possibilities for Black women, Asian women, women who are the children of immigrants, and just simply WOMEN of any color or background.

A woman who has frequently been told it “wasn’t the right time” for her to reach for a new career achievement, Harris simply says, “I eat ‘no’ for breakfast.” 

Kamala Devi Harris takes the oath of office to become the 49th Vice President of the United States on the Capital steps.
(AFP, via WION)

What does it mean to represent?

Harris represents opportunities at the highest levels of government.  But, if you look around, you’ll see that it’s important for people to represent themselves and their cultures at every level of society and in every field of endeavor.

Take Omar Thomas, for instance.

Thomas is a contemporary American composer who writes for symphonic and wind ensembles.  Equally grounded in classical music and jazz, he has been lauded for bringing a fresh new voice to the stuffy and inbred symphony world.

Two photos of composer Omar Thomas
Omar Thomas (L-R © 2017 Omar Thomas Music; WASBE)

If you want to meditate on the holy spirit, listen to the first movement of Thomas’ work, Come Sunday.  If you want to stand up and dance, listen to Come Sunday’s second movement.  Thomas dedicated the work, “To all the black musicians in wind ensemble who were given opportunity after opportunity to celebrate everyone else’s music but our own – I see you and I am you. This one’s for the culture!”

Thomas is far from the first Black American composer, but his impact on classical music caused conductors to re-evaluate music by earlier Black composers. So, for instance, Col. Jason K. Fettig, who conducts the United States Marine Band, slid Black composer Adolphus Hailstork’s Fanfare on Amazing Grace in among the Sousa marches and patriotic standards at the Biden/Harris inaugural ceremony.

Photos show the US Marine band playing at the 2021 Biden-Harris Inauguration, and composer Adolphus Hailstork.
The US Marine Band played at the 2021 Inauguration. Col. Jason K. Fettig included music by Adolphus Hailstork in the performance. (L-R: USMC photo by Staff Sgt. Chase Baran via Daily Hampshire Gazette; Adolphus Hailstork photo courtesy of Africlassical).

Being the First

But what do you do if you are the first? 

In 2007, a skinny sixteen-year-old London-born Indian kid had a ferocious argument with his mother.  She wanted to take him to an open audition for a new teen drama on British TV.  He argued it was pointless because there were no brown faces like his on British TV. 

She dragged him to the audition anyway.  After that, there was at least one brown face on the telly: his face.

A year later he snagged the lead role in a little indie film everybody thought was going straight to video release. But the movie got great word-of-mouth buzz.  By the time he was eighteen, Slumdog Millionaire had ten Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. And Dev Patel’s brown face was plastered across busses and billboards all around the world.

A photo from the movie bears the title “Slumdog Millionaire.”
(MovieKoop)

Today, Patel has an ardent fan base throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia.  He has begun to break out of the exceptional Asian” roles. Now he turns up in what he calls “regular dude,” parts. You can catch him in TV shows like The Newsroom, and Modern Love. 

In 2018 he snagged the classically British role of David Copperfield, in Armando Iannucci’s new film, The Personal History of David Copperfield.

Dev Patel as David Copperfield
Dev Patel stars in the film The Personal History of David Copperfield. ©Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Searchlight Pictures (via the New York Times. Photo by Dean Rogers).

Perspective from Dev Patel

Patel is acutely aware of his responsibility to open the way for other non-White actors. “When you get to a place of privilege or success,” he says, “Make sure you send the elevator back down for your friends.”

Because, no matter what Mike Pompeo thinks, we are a multicultural nation. We are a multicultural world.

“We’re talking about humanity,” Patel says. “It’s a story about love. It’s a story about unification and diversity. There is room for stories like that.”

Gratitude for Those Who Represent

We should all be grateful for the Kamalas and Sonias, the Omars and the Devs, who step up to represent their realities.  And if you don’t see yourself represented?  Maybe it’s time you stepped up, too.

Dev Patel and Octavia Spencer share a laugh during their interview.
Dev Patel and Octavia Spencer talk about representing their communities with Variety. This delightful interview with two outstanding actors is available in both video and article format. (Art Streiber for Variety)

IMAGE CREDITS:

Many thanks to AFP and WION for the photo of Vice President Kamala Harris’ swearing-in. We appreciate American Libraries Magazine and photographer Elena Seibert for the photo of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. We also thank Omar Thomas Music and WASBE for the photos of Omar Thomas.

Many thanks—for their service, their music, and their photo—to the United States Marine Corps Band, and photographer Staff Sgt. Chase Baran. Also, thanks to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, for the photo of the USMC Band. We also thank Africlassical for the photo of Adolphus Hailstork.

We thank MovieKoop for the Slumdog Millionaire movie banner. Thanks to Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Searchlight Pictures, the New York Times, and photographer Dean Rogers for the photo of Dev Patel as David Copperfield. And finally, thanks to Variety, as well as to YouTube for the video, and to photographer Art Streiber for the photo, of Dev Patel and Octavia Spencer.

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