It was a week about looking back fifty to sixty years, with a particular eye towards race and prejudice — which, if you think about it, is not all that different than waking up every day right now in the current political climate.
It started when Patrick and I watched Loving, which had been on our must-see list for a long time but was blink-and-you-miss-it in theaters. It's the story of Loving vs. the State of Virginia, the Supreme Court decision that finally allowed interracial marriage — and I'll remind you that, though the Lovings married in 1958, the court decision was not until 1967. It's a movie that, obviously, has a lot of meaning to Patrick and me; just think a minute, if you haven't, about what it would be like within your lifetime, to not be able to be married to the person you love. A lot of you reading this know very personally how that feels, but if you've never thought about it, it's worth considering what a privilege it is.
Loving is a very gentle, quiet movie. It did not draw a lot of attention to itself, which gives it even more power in its simplicity. Highly recommended.
Later that week, we double-family-dated with Beatrix's BFF's family to see Hidden Figures. I don't even know where to start with that one. Its strength was not being gentle, but in genuinely speaking truth to power. It made me so proud, so angry, so patriotic, so ashamed, so teary, so stoic — and all at the same time. What a story. Beatrix loved it and I'm so glad she got to see it and to have some hope in overcoming barriers. It deserves every ounce of praise it's been getting.
Saturday night, Patrick and I got a sitter and headed to downtown Saint Paul, past Crashed Ice and the Winter Carnival and the Roller Girls and god-know-what-else to go to the opening night of The Highwaymen at History Theater, a play about the development of Highway 94 and the destruction of the Rondo neighborhood in the late 1950s-early 1960s. It had been awhile since we had been there, and the whole vibe as we walked into the lobby was fascinating. It was the usual audience, but then all kinds of community groups and neighborhood activists, wine and cheese, old photos, and a real buzz to the air. The play lived up to it, one of the best pieces I have ever seen there. It was not at all what I expected, which was part of its strength, and again had more power in its simplicity (and its many monologues) than most far flashier pieces I have encountered.
Of all of these, the movies can wait — go see this now, during the run and spend some time thinking about how Saint Paul developed and how we got to where we are now. You won't regret it.*
*I even have two $10 off coupons of you want, let me know!