Watching Chick Flicks At Suppertime

chick flick

Suppertime

"Oh Barack, Don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars."

Chick Flick: Acrylic, screenprint on 16 x 20" canvas.

This is a continuation of my using Broadway and Hollywood metaphors, in examining the US/Israeli/Palestinian relationships. 'Chick Flick' explores the cultural and political pressure points in those relationships. It arose from that famous last line of Bette Davis' 1941 film Now Voyager - "Oh Jerry. Don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars." Remember?

Well, this is a take on that except the stars and moon have a different meaning, and Barack has become Paul Henreid. It comes back to the stars and the moon, and the people they represent, and how our culture embeds opinions while we stare at the flickering screen. For those that have never heard of Bette Davis, shame on you, and go here. If you are under 25 and cannot possibly fathom the effort to appreciate this great actress, this might make you more sympathetic.

Along with the stars and the moon, we have the Catholic Bible. The torn off poster is the first page of The Douay-Rheims Bible from 1582 (rather much altered) which I screenprinted and collaged onto the canvas. There's that illustrative pulp and graffiti coming through too.  

1933 Revue Berlin

Suppertime: Acrylic, screenprint on canvas and gold leaf. These are small, 6 x 3.5" square.

The title is from Ethel Waters' rendition of Suppertime from Irving Berlin's 1933 broadway revue - As Thousands Cheer. (play the song on You Tube below). People wouldn't know but this was an innovative revue based on a newspaper and the events of the day (remarkable, you'd never get that bravery today). I re-drew Obama's face with olive leaves, sort of a mask of Caesar.

With that demise of Obama's honeymoon, I thought it would be poetic to meditate on the significance of this song. I still think it's amazing that he ever got elected. Of course we care how much he stuffs up, but nobody's perfect. Both paintings draw on the mask which is used in prophesy. Perhaps appreciation of our roots is what this painting is about. Also, there is a line between healthy democratic critique and aggressive sabotage that is clearly being pushed right now in America. For this reason, 'Suppertime' seemed a timely song.

If you listen to 'Suppertime', there's a poignancy to it that makes one less (insufferably) critical of Obama, and more balanced in understanding what he is accomplishing just by being there. That doesn't mean we stop questioning. We can still reflect on the significance of our choices. Masks wear off fast when you test them against your own fears. Sometimes the problem with democracy can be pinned down to, well....democracy itself.  I listen to Ethel Waters' sing Suppertime, and I don't see failure:) I guess that's why I'm an artist and not a politician. History is alive and living within each of us. Please take the time to listen to this remarkable song and remarkable singer.

 
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