July 18, 2011
For some, the humdrum life of the present is never as fulfilling as the assumed pleasure in a past golden age. We watch period pieces like Mad Men and long for a time that doesn’t exist, but if it did, would surely make us happier people, and without a doubt, more stylish as well.
Nobody takes on this theme more clearly than Woody Allen in his latest flick, “Midnight In Paris.” The main character Gil Pender played by Owen Wilson is a screenwriter attempting to switch gears and scribe the next Great American Novel. On a visit to Paris he wistfully romanticizes the roaring twenties, and after one night of a little too much wine, is transported back (at midnight; title aptly named) to the Parisian party scene with that of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Stein (along with the rest of the writers, artists, and philosophers who defined 20th century modernism).
These midnight jaunts in time continue each evening, which play out as a befitting setting for an aspiring writer. However, as in life, all good things must come to an end and Gil realizes his nostalgia for the past is not unique to his psyche. Most people, if they could, while stumbling through the present look longingly for a time that seems easier and more agreeable to their demeanor.
On Saturday, July 9th, I took on the “Midnight in Paris” challenge at the Bootlegger’s Ball (an Access sponsored event). My excursion however was not set in Paris, but rather at the Green Acres Estate in Indian Hill, which could easily be coined the Versailles of Cincinnati. Hundreds of us gathered in our best flapper dresses, feathered headbands, suspenders, and seersucker suits. We celebrated Prohibition in Boardwalk Empire fashion, i.e., with some fresh made moonshine. And with a few swigs under our belts we danced to Cole Porter, Jazz Bands, and even some Jason Derulo (apparently JD reps himself in any Golden Age).
This time when the clock struck midnight, instead of being transported to another golden age we were dramatically tossed back to summer 2011. The magical 20s we’d absorbed into our veins quickly dissipated. The opportunity to walk the Seine, discuss the inner workings of Prufrock with T.S. Eliot and/or hear about true courage and bravery from none other than Ernest Hemingway had all but vanished. Instead, the question on everyone’s minds was where to next? Mt. Adams, downtown, or home? Ahh the golden age, it was fun while it lasted.
Until our next great escape… which I’m hoping serves Scotch on the rocks and a trip to Madison Avenue with none other than Don Draper and the gang, I’ll guess we’ll learn to find comfort in our present.
*Photo credits: Framester and Felinda Kidd.to top ↑