It’s Kurdish holiday leftover cater-in day at Lincoln, Nebraska’s Center For People In Need, and I’m already well into my second plate of sawar pilaf – I’m not even sure if that’s the right name of this meal; there’s a pounded, husked grain present in the dish that is almost indistinguishable from bulgur in this context, there’s mildly spiced baked chicken, there are almonds, apricots, raisins, vermicelli noodles buried in that pile pictured above – somewhere, somewhere.
Needless to say, I’m just ploving through whatever’s left in the staff kitchen. I’ve been a bit rude about it, I fear – I really should thank the chef and express my appreciation, but I’m just going to sit here and liveblog clandestinely from a breakout room adjacent to my cubicle.
The one with the nomad whalesongs seeping through the slightly ajar door.
That’s me, and I’ll keep a plate of skronky rice and mashed grain for you in my desk drawer if you can make it down here before 5 pm, Central Standard Time.
I’m not very well versed in classic Hollywood (though my appreciation for film is generally strong, it tends to skew in obsessive, probably particularly troubling, non-inclusive ways – Godard, Sam Fuller, Fassbinder…), nor do I read many memoirs, so this is a bit of a challenge to blog about on the fly. A good challenge, in any case. I spend most of this blog writing about what I know, so why not invert the formula?
I do know, and perhaps you as well, that Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn starred in a total of nine films together over the middle quarter of the twentieth century. Many of these films were or have lately come to be considered classics in many genres. DESK SET is the only film I’ve come within radiative distance of watching – about a television network reference librarian (Hepburn) who matches wits with an efficiency expert Richard Sumner (Tracy) hired to oversee part of a proposed network merger. Tracy’s “electronic brains” (computers, modernsters!) naturally ruffle a few feathers, not the least of which are Bunny Watson’s (Hepburn). The script, written by the elder Ephrons (Phoebe and Harry, parents to Nora), has received tremendous praise over the years, and the film glows with a golden 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Perhaps I’ll watch it one day. Really, it sounds perfectly swell if not wryly precocious. Several friends have already offered to host viewing parties, I can attest.
I can only hope that this film, and many others (canon and not), will one day be objects of my gaze and entertainment. Maybe tonight I’ll surprise myself and exercise my
obnoxiously self-avowed catholic tastes.
The book here, written by Garson Kanin (something of a showbiz phenomenon himself), was the result and reflection of a cozy friendship with both actors.
I’d like to bring you a passage, one of many found in this book, that air a particularly strong musk of bromance between Kanin and Tracy. Or if not bromance, some kind of intimate, discursively expressive relationship that I’m not equipped or observant enough to ply. Read on: