Saturday, June 12, 2010

Seaside Cinema

I live in a medium-sized town on a peninsula that juts south to north and curls around west a bit at the end. Like the tip of an elf's hat, but with no bell at the end. There is a lovely bay surrounding it which feed out to the Long Island Sound, which in turn, feeds out into the Atlantic Ocean, which in turn, feeds over to Europe and . . . um, okay.

My town is really nice. It is home to about 30,000 and can, in turn, feel like a small town or a hip urban neighborhood. There is a Main Street where parades can march and a walking path that winds around the shoreline, ending at the town dock and the Sunset Park band shell. In the summer, Sunset Park and the dock provide lots of cool things to do. There is a Farmer's Market every Saturday morning where, if you come early enough, you can get locally grown organic produce, fresh-caught fish, homemade baked things and locally harvested honey. It's not cheap, but there is always something colorful and delicious-looking to toss into your hemp grocery bag and place in the wicker basket of your beach cruiser. Folks bring their dogs and wear their birkis. The women don't color their gray hair and let it fly loose and long.

On weekend evenings, the bandshell hosts free events. Sometimes the town band (a conglomerate of professional local musicians and high school kids) plays and some nights they show a movie. You bring snacks and water bottles and sit on blankets and watch for free. Earlier tonight they played"Mamma Mia." A fun romp with catchy ABBA tunes, beautiful Greek Island scenery and attractive, energetic people. I saw the Broadway show with my three daughters a couple of years ago. I love it.
On this night, my friend, my daughter and her two friends all went. We parked, put on our sweatshirts, spread out our beach blanket and settled down to watch the setting orange sun shoot pink and purple out of its arms on both sides across the western sky. We greeted and chatted with friends and neighbors, catching up and filling in. As the dark grew darker, the movie began. Mamma Mia is basically one song after another with three or four lines of dialogue in between. We sang along. Quietly, privately at first. Then we realized others were singing along too. We sang louder. By the time "Dancing Queen" started and Meryl Streep had every woman on that Greek island singing and dancing with her, we had a fine chorus backing her up across the lawn.

The movie ended and we folded up and drove home. ABBA tunes lingered in our brains and the smell of low tide and salt water remained on our skin and in our hair.

See that girl. Watch that scene. Digging the Dancing Queen.

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