Friday, August 7, 2009

Hughes, Hughes, Anyone...John Hughes?

I was tired of being “Home Alone”, so I decided to take a “Vacation”. I stopped at the “Breakfast Club” first which was so “Pretty in Pink” with “Sixteen Candles” at the counter. I ran into to “Ferris Beuller” who was acting all “Mr. Mom” when he told me “Curly Sue”…“She’s Having a Baby”, which seemed like a bit of “Weird Science” but I extended my congratulations as “ Uncle Buck” walked by and told me I’d have to take “Train, Planes and Automobiles” to get to my destination, which really made me feel “Some Kind of Wonderful.”

John Hughes, Director, Writer, Producer and by all accounts all around good guy left us yesterday. His movies were the background to my generation and his passing has made me ponder my mortally a little bit, and the fact that I’m getting older a lot. It's been a heck of a summer for our icon's.

John Hughes made the movies that made me feel good at the end, no matter how implausible.

John Candy, Molly Ringwald, Michael Keaton, and The Red Wing Shirt wearing guy from “Ferris Beuller”…All favorite actors portraying great characters that have never left my subconscious.

Speaking of the jersey guy...I just read that John Hughes was born in a Detroit suburb...duh…I could never figure out why a Chicago boy would be sportin' a Wing’s shirt.

My university lumped together Radio, TV and Film as “Telecommunications” so I have a bit of a film major. I studied a huge variety of “films” and “cinema” (those words sound fancier than “movie” don’t they?) I viewed the very first films in America like “Birth of a Nation” and Russian and French flicks, and through it all I learned to develop an appreciation of “film as art.”

I wrote a term paper on the “Auteur Theory” ( A paper created on a typewriter, and no copy exists which bums me out)

The “Auteur Theory” in a nutshell is this: It means “author” in French and is generally associated with the French new wave. Essentially it means that films created by a director all contain his/her ideas and visions, like a personal stamp. I had stated, that directors like John Ford, Billy Wilder, Hitchcock, etc etc were true auteur's despite the fact that they weren’t French. There’s a certain essence to certain directors' movies that resonate throughout all of them. It’s a “Stephen Spielberg” movie, it's a “Michael Mann” etc etc. You get the picture.

I won’t go into it much more than that, but to say that in retrospect, John Hughes is a true auteur as well.

I’m sure many scoff at that notion. He’s never been recognized by the Academy, yet he put his mark on a slew of movies that have never been erased from the collective hearts of those of us, for better or for worse, grew up in that much maligned 80’s era.

Sure, some of his movies and characters are far-fetched and improbable, and sometimes very “cheese on cheese” (The end of Sixteen Candles…,the sister and principle character in “Ferris Bueller” etc etc.) But I personally LOVE cheese and John Hughes’ movies are slices of hope, happiness and entertainment all wrapped up in a sassy bow for enjoyment over and over again.

The music, the dancing, the sappy moments. They take you away for a minute, if only a minute. Because at the end of the day, isn’t escapism why we watch a movie anyways?


Thursday, August 6, 2009

This Radio Life Part 3-Jump in my pool

One summer, I was a midday personality at a radio station in Detroit. The area was in the midst of a scorching heat wave. (As if a heat wave could be something less than scorching??)

I wanted to do a segment that would “take off the heat” so to speak, help people forget for a minute. Being the dork I am, I asked the production guy for a sound effect of water splashing sounds. I played it intermittently throughout my show and asked people to call in and tell me why I should let them “jump in my pool".

There is beauty in simplicity sometimes. The phones went nuts. A little something I was just going to fool around with for a while became a full-blown segment pretty quickly. The sales department was of course trying to sell it immediately, so shortly after I received a request from K-mart to host a grand opening, live in front of their store….broadcasting from my pool.

Radio is theater of the mind, so the live event didn’t go over as big as the powers that be would have liked. But it certainly makes a great story. In fact, it’s a favorite my hubby likes to tell.

It’s occasionally irksome when friends and family tell stories about my past…how I used to be in radio...blah blah blah. I’ve noticed when I meet new people now and I say I’m doing pro bono marketing work or freelance copywriting, they wear an expression of “ Oh whatever”. But if I say, “I used to work in radio” they quickly perk up. Sometimes it’s the only thing anyone remembers about me.

I’ve realized I could live my whole life like this….livin’ off what I used to do, because the truth is anything I do now or in the future will never be as cool…

Or will it?

It could be as cool as jumpin' in the pool ☺

Beauty in simplicity could strike again.