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Morris, Ken, King Tut and George C.

Bitterly cold here – a wind to cut through your ribs and freeze your eyeballs. And I’m with a man from Vancouver who only has a short leather jacket to keep his skinny old body warm. Have to keep him alive.

Last night was stellar. Morris Panych and Ken MacDonald, who came for dinner, are spectacular. In fact, we hate them. They are not only good-looking and extremely, desperately talented, they are successful around the world. Even though they’ve been together for many years, are now married, and often work closely together with Morris as writer and/or director and Ken as designer, they get along well. They enjoy each other’s company. It’s disgusting.
And what makes them truly unbearable is that they are also funny and nice. Nice. They talked about when they were moving from Vancouver and decided not to move their Jessie awards with them, but to donate them back to the Jessie committee. The Jessies are the Vancouver theatre awards. Most people are thrilled to win one; two would be a great honour. Between them, for writing, acting and design, Ken and Morris had around 32 Jessies. 32. Morris has won the Governor General’s award as a playwright TWICE. The only indication of their phenomenal success was the very good bottle of wine they brought, and that Morris’s grey striped sweater looked awfully soft, and Ken had the latest iPhone. He draws on it, like a sketchbook.
This morning, Chris and I managed to get to the Art Gallery of Ontario without freezing to death, which was already an achievement. We saw the King Tut exhibit which was, in the old sense of the word, awesome. Stunning artifacts – statuary, jewellry – from thousand of years ago. There were hoardes of school children there and it was crowded, but I was glad all those kids were getting a good look at how old our planet really is, and at the artistry of 3000 B.C.
One grouse: There were large explanatory panels everywhere, welcome and readable. But on one, about Howard Carter who discovered the Tut tomb, was written, “Overwhelmed, the contents of the small chamber came into focus for him.” That means that the contents of the small chamber were overwhelmed. I’m sure they were, to be suddenly uncovered after thousands of years.
Perhaps it meant that Howard Carter was overwhelmed, but that’s not what that sentence, with its dangling participle, says. Don’t you think an exhibit that must have costs many thousands to put together would make sure it had proper grammar on its signage? I think it’s shocking.
Then we toured some of the rest of the refurbished AGO, the bright halls newly designed by Gehry, the wonderful David Milne room, rooms of Impressionist art. I’ve spent the year touring museums in 3 of the great cities of the world, and yet hardly ever go to the marvellous gallery in my own home town. Great to see it with a friend. He was impressed, even though this is Toronto and he’s from Vancouver and so is obligated to put us down.
Tonight, Chris, my son Sam and I went to see Up in the Air, directed by Canadian Jason Reitman, starring, as I’m sure you know, the most charming man on earth, George Clooney. It’s a good film. Yes, we did pick apart plot inconsistencies, things that were simply not believable – we each had at least one big one – but Clooney and the other actors – and especially the two actresses – were very good, and the film does the important job of putting a moving human face on the cost of downsizing. Two thumbs up.
Then we all managed to get home without freezing to death. This is serious cocooning time. Best not to emerge till May.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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