I am very happy to share Sue’s post today. Apart from anything else, it gives me a chance to wish her a very Happy Birthday and to say how much her presence in my life means to me. Though we’ve known each other, at a distance, for many years, it is the blog that drew us closer together and helped us get to know each other as friends. It’s a real gift, as her words and outlook are to all of us.
In the Heights
by Sue Robin, Los Angeles, California
It is the 15th of June 2021 and California has removed all pandemic restrictions. Just in time for me to celebrate my B-day on the 16th. Without a mask, I won’t need to repeat my order three times nor will the crab salad I ordered transform into a Cobb. Who knows, maybe I will win the California Jab Lottery? Though the maskless faces returning my smile will be gift enough. Stores and restaurants will fully re-open— assuming they can find adequate staff. Traffic has already returned to its pre-pandemic snail’s pace. One hopes that not everything will slip back into the same old ways.
As the restrictions in Los Angeles have eased, we have ventured out to do our own marketing, dine out and, this last week, we even went to a movie. It feels less strange each time, though it still has the pleasure of feeling new. I can only imagine the shift when masks are no longer de rigueur.
The movie we saw was In the Heights. It is filled with the vibrancy of community. Love, sorrow, expectations, hope and joy filled every frame. It, also, faces the reality of Dreamers, people who are undocumented, gentrification and daily racism with the respect these topics deserve. The social issues are woven throughout the plot line, giving a formidable stage on which to waken the world.
I am not a great fan of rap music, but the rap songs in this musical fit seamlessly into the story and it was clear that each particular character and circumstance could not have been better expressed in any other way. There were melodic songs and dances—even synchronized swimming. Homage was paid to Singin’ in the Rain. While I may have walked out of the theatre in tears (full disclosure here: I often cry at movies), I, also, felt enriched and filled with the sweet pleasure of having someone share the intimacy of their experience. This is a paean to Lin-Manuel Miranda and the entire cast.
As we open our doors again, there are big issues that are still plaguing our world: climate change, racism, violence. I pray that we all take a moment to honor the stillness we have just exited and prepare ourselves to take the necessary small steps to bring respect to our communities and strength to revitalize this planet, doing so with love and kindness. Un sueñito for the future. See the movie and you will know what it means.