Scene4 Magazine: Claudine Jones
Claudine Jones
Fingers & Toes

It's pervasive, legendary & viral. The internet seems to be the first resource—'why don't you just google it?'—for a quick education. So naturally, when I was thinking about doing a piece on Glenn Close vs Meryl Streep, I knew I hadda make my choice: old school or IMDB.

My impetus for this current cogitation was watching a lot of Netflix, snailmail and streaming, on a somewhat random basis. The company's attempts to 'guide' me or profile me are clever enough, but I'm still a maverick…not sure their algorithms can factor that.  No, sometimes I just see a name, follow a trail and end up watching complete trash; then using the same procedure, get hooked on a series that blows my hair back. A friend can recommend something & that's nice, but I keep my own counsel. Not even my partner & I are 100% aligned—who is?—and I've overcome my basic girly instinct to be 'nice', & just say 'pass' on some of those Palestinian-boy-loves-Israeli-girl tragedy indies that spent a week in an art house or film festival before earning (I think) a well-deserved disappearance.

Actually, it's probably Netflix access to TV and film that has finally broken down our decades long in-house ban on having the small screen experience together. That and the availability of fairly affordable home equipment. Case in point: about the time I found out I was going to be a grandma for the first time, I grabbed the occasion to get the basement totally redone; the floor was a mess and that hole where the old gravity furnace had stood was definitely a hazard. I envisioned the precious mite toddling around and falling in on his tiny face. No, no, no!

It was a tough project, but as always when something major goes on at my domicile, it's going to take a year & a half and involve one of my brothers & a Skilsaw.  Let's fast-forward through the Hiring Your Family thing.  As of this writing, the old basement is gorgeous, my grandson is almost three & navigates the stairs like a pro. He has lots of old Legos & blocks & cars, so for those two days a week he spends with us, there's a lovely large indoor area that's warm & safe for him. 

Sharp as he is, the Boy has not yet, however, even noticed that on the far end of the room, attached to the ceiling, is a 9' rolled-up screen for projecting films. At the opposite end of the room, hidden discreetly in the wall of the storage closet, is the projector. At appropriate locations, little black speakers are perched on the walls & all the wires are deftly hidden in yards of black tubing.  So outside of play, this room was consecrated for FILM, not *ahem* 'television', HBO notwithstanding.  There would be no internet connection. I mean, something could be devised probably, but that's more expense and at the time it seemed a sacrilege.  We can move the two gigantic old couches on sliders to seat a bunch of people, but mostly it's just my partner & me, in the dark (windows all outfitted with blackout). And we get free popcorn.

Furthermore, setting up sleeping space for the Boy we initially parked him in his daddy's old bedroom upstairs on big comfy futon on the floor—he wasn't going anywhere at that point, obviously—and when he wasn't there, we (I) used that room for TIVO and Wii. My partner doesn't 'do' the small screen thing, even though technically it was a 50" Mitsubishi (don't even ask how I got that. Blame my oldest son; he ALWAYS can talk me into buying things.) Okay, too much detail.  The point is, we were both insistent that the Boy not watch anything at our house. I got rid of that TV, installed a 60" flat screen on the wall & rigged up a curtain in front of it hiding the whole mess, components & all. A Big Boy Bed now rests under the windows to the left. 

We figured by the time our little one was cognizant of the evils of TV, even though it was just baseball games & Martha Speaks, we would be ahead of the curve. He wouldn't suspect a thing. (In fact, when he asks, everybody in the family tells him 'Nammie & Ap don't have a TV'.) The funny thing is, it's kind of true.  I reached the breaking point when DirecTV screwed me over on a discounted upgrade. When I got a RoboCall from them on Sunday morning, that tore it.  No more TIVO, no more Days of Our Lives, (which was a good thing anyway—man! that show was going downhill faster than that poor dead Olympic luge guy) and I definitely didn't need to watch Biggest Loser or Survivor anymore. Spending way too much time detoxing from my day job, clicking through my Favorites, watching whatever was on TCM & listening to vapid commentary & trivia.  My laptop certainly can give me enough of that. And Paperfree San Francisco Chronicle.

With the speed of lightning it seems, the world now has gotten caught up in the Social Network (terrific movie, though), and I am retired, I have film conversations with a young Man whose favorite movie is The Iron Giant, but who, even though precocious, is still really too young for movies, we think, & so have expressed our opinion to my son, who respectfully declined our advice to wait. One day soon we'll cuddle up on the sofa downstairs & maybe watch Pinocchio together.  I'd like to introduce him to Fantasia, too.  Sometime next year,  perhaps. He likes music, but not too loud.

By the way, it is possible to OD on Glenn Close.


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©2010 Claudine Jones
©2010 Publication Scene4 Magazine

Like an orthopedic soprano, Actor/Singer/Dancer Claudine Jones has worked steadily in Bay Area joints for a number of decades. With her co-conspirator Jaz Bonhooley, she also has developed unique sound designs for local venues. She's also a Senior Writer and columnist for Scene4.
For more of her commentary and articles, check the Archives


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December 2010

Scene4 Magazine - Arts and Media

December 2010

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