Carpe Diem Y’all by Michele Bernard

Writer, Texan, Semi-interested Sports Fan

Carpe Beatlemanium

poster_across-the-universe1.jpgIt’s enough to make a Beatles fan both cringe and grin, sometimes at the same time……I’ll go ahead and say it: I’m embarrassed by how much I liked this movie. – Jeffrey Chen Windows to the Movies 

“What do you remember about the sixties?” my son asks.

“I was just kid,” I reply, “I remember I prayed alot.  Mostly for the war in Vietnam to end so Uncle Butch could come home.  And, oh, for God to get Donny Osmond to marry me.  Actually, that was probably the seventies.”  I lose myself in thought. 

My son loses interest.  The Uncle Butch he knows is a grandfather.  So is Donny Osmond.  I realize I don’t paint the portrait I try to paint for him.  I’m at a loss as to how to answer his question.  The answer is too big and my attention span is too short.  I too lose interest and move on to other thoughts.

Then I go see the movie musical, Across the Universe.  And there it is:  the answer to my son’s question, a cinematic CliffsNotes on the sixties (or was it the seventies?), a social/cultural documentary told through the words and music of the Beatles detailing the background noise of my childhood.  

I’m not sure the movie is for everyone, but I for one love it.  The love story:  sweet, the issues: real, picking out the obvious and not-so-obvious symbols strewn throughout the film: as fun as solving a Where’s Waldo puzzle.  At times I feel I need a notepad to keep up. 

And the music, oh my goodness, the music.  It’s as if hearing these songs for the first time.  I am amazed at how with a slower tempo, a  different voice, or use of a song in an unexpected context can trick my ears into thinking I’ve never heard these words before.  I purchase the two-cd soundtrack within twenty-four hours of watching the movie. 

The arrangement of Let it Be is the most moving rendition I’ve ever heard.  And Joe Cocker singing Come Together ?  Of course!  Joe Cocker singing Come Together.  He has the perfect rasp to pull it off, and the percussion makes it, dare I say, better than the original version? On a similar note, I truly believe Bono IS the walrus.  All featured artists are fabulous and breathe new life into the words and the music my generation teethed on back in the day.

I pick my son up at baseball practice, stereo thumping.

“Gah Mom!  Can you turn that down?”

“No,” I say, handing him the cd liner notes.

“What’s this?” 

“The answer to your question.”


Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele


November 1, 2007 Posted by | Beatles, Best Lines, Blogroll, Donny, Family, Her Royal Nerdiness, Just Wow, Michele's Musings, Movies, Music, Parenting, Theater | | Leave a comment

What Happens in Anti-Vegas Stays in Anti-Vegas

Nelson, Branson and Andy Williams

To celebrate my 45th and my son’s 21st, the family loaded up and headed for the mountains.  We stayed here.  We had a fabulous view.  And finding things to do to satisfy ages 14 to 45, not a problem.  We saw a show on Saturday, and another on Sunday, we played miniture golf, road go-carts and bumper boats and we paid homage to the world’s largest ball of string.  This mini-vacation will be remembered as the one where we laughed alot.  Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele     

October 11, 2007 Posted by | Family, Golf, Heart, Her Royal Nerdiness, Michele's Musings, Theater, Travel | Leave a comment

The F Word

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of attending the United States premier of the Truth in Translation project at Southern Methodist University.  It was a truly powerful experience.  From the back of the program:

“We live in a world that is increasingly driven by fear and vengeance.  This is incompatible with the notion of forgiveness.  Yet we cannot survive unless emotional and perceptual reconciliation can be made.  This story is not just about one country, one context, one event, but about all of us right now, everywhere we look.” – Michael Lessac, Artistic Director, Truth in Translation

At intermission, instead of the usual get-me-to-the-bathroom buzz, the audience sat silent, mesmerized, unwilling to break the spell binding us the them, the actors portraying the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission translators who are telling the stories of both the victims and the perpetrators of the crimes of apartheid in first person.  I sit wondering how.  How does one get to forgiveness after such atrocity? 

Finally standing, I walk to the theater lobby.  The mood reminds me of a post-Lenten service, people walking, not talking, carefully avoiding eye contact.  Large banners, courtesy of The Forgiveness Project, hang from ceiling to floor, pictures of people, their stories underneath, each sharing their personal paths to forgiveness.  

Reading their stories, I’m overwhelmed with both gratitude and shame.  Gratitude for being spared the heart-breaks these people have endured and shame for holding onto the angers and grudges I hold.  They were so large yesterday, but today, in the face of those who’ve made the decision to move past hate and anger, choosing forgiveness and reconciliation instead, they feel small, petty, stupid. 

And in the middle, was this banner.  It helped me get a better grasp around the question of how.

Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele

September 10, 2007 Posted by | Another F-ing Thought for the Day, Heart, Inspiration, Inspirational, Just Wow, Michele's Musings, Music, Theater | 3 Comments