Saturday, March 03, 2012

'La Dolce Vita'

Tonight I'm basking in the orange glow of Rocky Top, watching Fellini's "La Dolce Vita" and sipping a Sam Adams. Everything goes down better with a Sam Adams, after all.

Watching Fellini is a little like reading Faulkner. You've got to work at it. But, it's worth the work.

Some time ago, I watched Orson Welles' "F For Fake," clearly influenced by Fellini, particularly his later farcical surrealism. That's worth a look, if you've never seen it.

My pal Ross Southerland showed me a series of shorts once, one directed by Fellini. Alas, I don't remember its name. Darn good cinema, though.

Roger Ebert turned me onto this film. Here's his review.

Fellini's film speaks to me, maybe in ways I don't quite understand. A journalist, frustrated he hasn't done more, caught in a place from which he can't escape. Don't get the idea I'm in that space. I'm not. I just don't want to be caught there. Forever. Wasting whatever talent I possess. It's so easy, you see, to see only toward tomorrow's deadline.

We were in New York last weekend. That city quickens my pulse. I feel alive, full of gravitas, living la dolce vita, indeed.

It's a fantasy, the lights and the literati and the lovely lives of Manhattan. I know that. And still I want it.

Oh, how I want to wake up at the Waldorf-Astoria, A-No.1, king of the hill, a best-seller for Bennett Cerf, a welcomed mystery guest on "What's My Line?"

That New York -- that life, indeed -- is forever gone. It left us somewhere between Vietnam and Watergate, the cultivated manners and the black tie and tails replaced by blue jeans and Justin Bieber. God help us.

But it isn't so bad. I can watch Fellini on my Blu-Ray on a Saturday night, sipping on a Sam Adams, heeding its warning, dreaming my dreams.

That, my friends, is something.

La dolce vita.

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