09 September, 2010

The Duchess Fondly Remembers . . .

The Labor Day Weekend
(Warning of Potentially Offensive Language Below)

If some of you are wondering what has become of the Duchess of late, please know nothing has afflicted her more serious than considerable confusion over the new blogger composition tools, mixed with a heavy dose of laziness.  It was the Labor Day weekend most recently, after all, and now the New Year . . . . 

This time last week the Duchess salivated with anticipation for the upcoming holiday weekend (three days!), the bounty of beautiful weather and a slew of interesting new reads.  Current issues of Town & Country and Vanity Fair were disposed of quickly, leaving the Duchess to pursue a denser text -- Jonathan Franzen's compelling new tome "Freedom". 

But the Duchess's pursuit of "Freedom" was thwarted.  This is a common happening.

The interfering party?  Robert Evans.  His memoir, "The Kid Stays in the Picture", is the quintessential expose of behind-the-scenes Hollywood wrangling at its most glamorous and magical, and the Duchess hasn't put it down.  Although it may not best "You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again" in depth, "The Kid" is a mesmerizing chronicle of the ups and downs of our town's producer of legends (both cinematic and otherwise); its honesty is impossible to gauge but its frankness is palpable.  The book inspires as a classic tale of luck, circumstance, and moxie all coalescing at the right times to create an amazing, storied -- but imperfect -- life. 

What the Duchess loves most about Evans is his apparent commitment to being true to himself, regardless of the fallout.  His need to live consistently with his own feelings, thoughts and convictions causes him as much pain and loss as it brings joy and gain.  It isn't a salvo.  But it makes Evans authentic, a true original.  This state of mind seems to be much harder to come by in these days.  Why might that be?  When Evans was making movies, he worked from his home, nearly round the clock.  Although he entertained at home (both friends and business colleagues), a demanding case of sciatica coupled with the demands of his career prevented him from being distracted by the (non-trade) news of the day, from fleeting relationships, from inconsistent and shallow connections.  Evans wasn't sidelined.  And he wasn't holding up the lens of the lives of others to look at his own.  He makes comparisons between his luck and the luck of his buddies and contemporaries, sure (Ovitz, Nicholson, Beatty, Diller, Kissinger); but he appreciates those (mostly) men for their own accomplishments, and doesn't regret they are not his own. 

It's challenging today when we're flooded by a constant spew of media, in all forms (yes, Facebook, that includes you); seemingly endless traffic and streams of commerce; and a heavily prevalent popular culture to get in there, be different, be difficult, be unlikeable.  All these pressures have the added effect of making us want to be more interconnected, and to create communities to fill the vacuums left by our own peripatetic and/or upwardly mobile lifestyles.  But Evans is an inspiring reminder that the best lived life comes first with knowing oneself, and then acting accordingly.  The rest of the world be damned.

Or, as Evans so delicately states:  Fuck 'em.  Fuck 'em all. 

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