Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tuesday Night at the McCarren Pool: Open Space Alliance Community Bloc Party, Taste of Williamsburg and Summerscreen Presents "Rushmore"

Upon stepping down into McCarren Park pool around 6:30 p.m. this evening, we found a penny. Heads up. We bent down and picked it up.

It was The L Magazine's last Summerscreen Tuesday night show of the summer and supposedly the last free event (Sonic Youth on Saturday will cost you) at the pool for now, as it will be returned to its original state. As Moses (Robert) said, Let there be water.

(Photo courtesy Brownstowner)

Plumb tuckered out after all our running around, we weren't planning on coming to the pool tonight. For us, summer is ending, as tomorrow is the first day of classes at some of the six college campuses where we've taught 25 classes in the past couple of years since moving back to Brooklyn.

But we got a last-minute call from the Swinging Sixties Senior Center on Ainslie Street. The designated Old Brooklyn Native Observer for tonight could not make it - something about an overdose of prune juice and vodka - so could we pinch-hit?

We agreed to be on hand to monitor things at the community bloc party for the Open Space Alliance, the wonderful organization helping to make North Brooklyn the greenest part of the city. OSA has made all the pool events possible, has supported renovating the pool for swimming and ice-skating, and is actively seeking an appropriate venue for future outside events.

Like Emerson, who liked the silent Sunday church before services began, we like the pool best when it's quiet, as it was when we arrived. People were setting up blankets, smiling and laughing, buying the little tickets at the Taste of Williamsburg benefit for OSA.

There were tables for wonderful local food places with mouth-watering cuisine from all over the world: Taco Chulo (our favorite), Fanny, Brooklyn Label, Lodge, Urban Rustic, Falafel Chula (another favorite), Wine Cellar Sorbet and more.

And there were also the usual tables for Brooklyn Brewery, Greenpoint Wines and the other food stands that have been at the pool every Tuesday night since July. Starbucks was handing out (well, actually people had to put their hand in the big cold barrel) frozen caffeine and a man from Ito En came around and gave us a free bottle of blueberry green tea.

The group who sit by the south end of the pool and try their best not to look at the movie, bless their hearts, were getting started getting sloshed on something stronger as The King Left came on to play.

Corey, Mark, Ian, and Graham sang about a little girl who had a little curl guess where, and did covers of a song by The Monkees (forty years ago a boy in Marine Park who wanted to be our boyfriend said we reminded him of Davy Jones, the liar) and The Kinks' "Sunny Afternoon".

After a while, we walked home for a short schoolwork break and got back just after Kent Jones of the Film Society of Lincoln Center introduced the night's screening of Wes Anderson's seminal 1998 film Rushmore.

We first saw it in the winter of 1999 at the AMC Ridge Plaza off I-495/State Road 84 in Davie, Florida, where we were living and teaching fiction writing and organizational communication, whatever that is, at Nova Southeastern University. A couple of years ago we watched it again with our parents on TV in Arizona.

As the FreeNYC capsule of tonight's movie said,
The unrequited love triangle of eccentric teenager Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman), rich industrialist Herman Blume (Bill Murray), and their mutual love for elementary school teacher Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams), Rushmore put both Anderson and Schwartzean on the map for a lot of viewers and is a true modern classic.

But it's so much more than that. As TotalFilm's review notes:
The joy of Rushmore is that although it rarely goes the way you think it will, it always stays believable. Herman may regard Max as a friend, but at the same time he’s unwilling to bow to some upstart kid. And, while Max appears poised and at ease with the adult world, he’s still just a kid, prone to the temper tantrums and general twattish behaviour all 15 year olds display. It’s in generational inconsistencies – such as when Herman matches Max’s adolescent fury or Max outdoes his peers – that Rushmore excels. . . Filmed on autumnal locations and backed by an oddball soundtrack that’s as eclectic as the story itself, Rushmore is a genuinely one-off comedy.

The age difference between Max Fischer and Herman Blume in Rushmore is about what the age difference is between nearly everyone else watching the movie and us, we think, even as we smile and chuckle. This movie marked the start of Bill Murray's later work in movies like Lost in Translation and The Life Aquatic in which he plays middle-aged men in transition and maybe in crisis.

Like everything else, of course, the movie eventually ends, literally with the closing of a red velvet curtain. We were standing against the back of the pool, way over on the northernmost fringe of the crowd, watching the screen and the crowd from a pleasant vantage point.

People applaud. The MC guy thanks everyone for coming, reminds us to clean up after ourselves, says a few other things, ending with "See you next year!"

And suddenly we're standing up, an old face in a young crowd, one person in an empty poolful of people, not really kicking and only silently screaming as we make our way to the lesser-used Leonard Street back exit, going home to watch Hillary and The Cult of Sincerity.

Summer's lease hath all too short a date. But while it lasted, bitches, wasn't it wonderful?

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