Another day, another mixed grill of AA culture. In the morning: A spotlit stage, a lion in winter, a flattering interlocutor, two chairs and two glasses of water. Yes, it’s a celebration of Arthur Miller here at his alma mater. The tickets were free and I can’t complain too much, but after it was all over it occurred to me that there must be better ways to celebrate a titan of the American theater than to put him on stage and lob cotton-candy softballs at him. But this is the “Inside the Actors Studio” model, and this is how we do it. Granted, the man is 88 years old now, but he’s still sharp; couldn’t we ask him something more penetrating than, “Why are you so much more celebrated in the U.K. and in Europe than you are here?”
Whoa hold the phone, you know? First of all, it’s not like the guy’s standing on street corners juggling for quarters, and the old “Europeans appreciate great art more than we do” ignores some fundamental truths about both them and us, but mostly two:
1) there’s more on TV here; and
2) that whole Jerry Lewis thing.
I mean, even in Ann Arbor, a morning like this was followed by an afternoon like that: A free (for film/video students) screening of “Supersize Me,” which was almost too wonderful to bear, even though we Fellows had to leave early for Thursday’s seminar. The premise of “Supersize Me” is this: A healthy, strapping New Yorker, Morgan Spurlock, decides to eat nothing but McDonald’s food for a solid month and see what happens. When we left, at which time he was only up to week three or so, he was up 17 pounds, his cholesterol was soaring, and his liver was approaching toxicity. The whole thing could be a big tiresome anti-fast food screed if it weren’t so funny, and not in a mean, nasty, ironic way, either. Spurlock actually likes the food, at least at first; the scene where he kisses his double Quarter Pounder before tucking into it is just a stitch.
It opens in May. You won’t want to miss it, although you may never eat a Filet o’ Fish again.