A Few Good Things
On Tuesday, I tried a brand-new tactic that I recommend to everyone who desperately needs to make contacts from square zero. On a whim, I went to Random House, because they had listed a number of openings on mediabistro, and after applying for them all, I thought I’d better visit in person to put myself over the other people who might look better on paper. But once I was there, I had no idea who to talk to or who to call. So I sat in the lobby and fretted for about thirty minutes. But then I noticed that people kept streaming out to stand on the sidewalk and smoke. So I simply loitered outside, and when someone pulled out a cigarette, I was there to proffer my lighter (thank goodness I thought of buying it!), and that led to the natural question, “So what department do you work in?” After only twenty or so minutes of doing this, I met a man who worked as an art editor at Fodor’s.
“Fodor’s!” I said. “I’d love to work there! I just finished writing a travel book in the hope of getting a job with a travel magazine. Do you have any openings?”
“Actually,” said the very nice man, “a friend of mine who’s an editor here just resigned today. Here’s her e-mail . . .” And bingo! I had a contact! I e-mailed her the next day and haven’t heard back yet, but this was another happy thing I thought I’d report.
To celebrate this brace of good newses, I’ve been relaxing just long enough to permit a viewing of TCM’s It’s Always Fair Weather (1955), part of their Stanley Donen birthday tribute. And I have to say, it must be one of the most underrated musicals I’ve yet enjoyed. It doesn’t seem to make anyone’s top ten list, but it’s got a smart script, it has actual depth of characterization and strong emotional stakes (it’s about GI’s who were friends ten years ago and how they become estranged, then learn to be friends again), it’s not nearly as corny or broad as Singin’ in the Rain, and it features Cyd Charisse having more fun than I’ve seen her have in any musical, including Silk Stockings. (I always knew she had it in her!) On top of all this, the songs are quite pleasant, and it features what has just become one of my favorite dance sequences: Gene Kelley on roller skates, performing on a huge stage, with a rolling camera following his every surprising move, with nary a single cut. It must have taken weeks to choreograph, and my jaw is still on the floor.
Happy birthday, Mr. Donen! That warmth you’re feeling is coming from my heart’s gleeful cockles. And thumbs up to TCM, too, who gave this little gem pride of programming over the too-obvious choice (Singin’ in the Rain, which I still absolutely love, by the way), airing it at 2pm, when folks at home might actually be watching instead of preparing for work. (Singin’ was at 10.)
By the way, I ate Chinese food last night, and it came with a fortune cookie: There are plenty of promises and hope floating around you.