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THE SEAMY SIDE OF HOLLYWOOD
2 February 2014
Nathaniel West's "The Day of the Locust" is listed as one of the best books of the 20th Century. I thought it was an ugly book and didn't like it much. Based on comments by the 40-some women at the book club meeting today, I wasn't alone in my opinion. It deals with the seamy side of Hollywood during the depression and I found none of the characters likeable (not even Homer Simpson!)
Today was so much better than last month. They figured out the problem with the sound system and it was very easy to hear everyone, which made the afternoon so much more enjoyable.
The meeting starts at 2 p.m., in Woodland (about 8 miles from Davis) and we meet in this little building which belongs to the Lions Club.
There didn't seem to be as many women there as there were last time, but as I looked around about the time we broke for "tea" I didn't see many empty chairs.
As I've said before, the program seems to consist of background about the time of the book, information on the author, and discussion of the characters. As West was killed in an auto accident at age 40, the bio section was rather short.
The introduction, which set the stage for Hollywood in the depression, was given by the woman at the left. Since I am new to the group and don't know the feelings about having your photo posted on a blog, I've blurred her face, but she was just such a perfect example of someone you'd think of as a member in a group like this that I had to take her picture.
I don't know why, but I have the feeling that this woman wouldn't mind if she ever saw this page. She and her co-presenter both wore berets, and this one dressed in black with the white scarf, like you might envision a director in the 1930s would.
I've seen her in several of these presentations and if she hasn't had stage experience, surely she has been someone for whom public speaking is a natural thing. I always know I'm in good hands when she is part of the proceedings. She was the one who gave the history on Nathaniel West, and where I learned that he and his wife died in an auto accident. He was 40. Wikipedia speculates he might have been upset about the recent death of his friend, F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Anyway, the presentation was really interesting and then we broke for "tea" (I suspect most of us have coffee with our sweets)
After tea there was a discussion about the book, Hollywood, and a bunch of other things that were quite interesting. It didn't last long, but it was the longest discussion I've seen since I've been coming to meetings, and I liked it.
I left the meeting feeing more positive about this group and looking forward to next month, when we will be discussing "40 Years of Chez Panisse." I just may have to do a field trip for this one...perhaps lunch at Chez Panisse!
I made a stop at the supermarket on the way home because we seem to be out of everything at the moment. We are still out of a lot of things, but those are things I usually buy a Costco, so I suspect a trip to Costco is also in the foreseeable future (we are almost out of dog treats, which I buy there -- oh horror!)
When I got home, there was an email from my friend at Atria saying she had not seen my mother at lunch yesterday or today, or at dinner yesterday and wondered if all was OK. Naturally I panicked. I called my mother, but there was no answer, so I drove over to Atria to find out if she was alive or not. No answer to my knock on the door and I wasn't sure what I would find inside.
What I found inside was...nothing. She wasn't there. I
snuck down to the dining room and could see her at a table dining with three other women,
so I didn't let her know I was there because I didn't have time to visit. I just came on
home, but much relieved. And also very relieved to know that there are
residents who watch out for her.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Our treat table today. There were lots more plates by the
time we actually
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