The wonderful ArtsNet list serve is many things: a notice board, a trading post, a soapbox.
I’ve never posted anything on it, but the ArtsNet folder in my email program contains 4659 items at the time of writing.
And that’s just the ones I either haven’t opened, or have marked as unread to remind me to re-visit them when time permits.
As a calendar of arts and entertainment events, it is priceless.
Then there’s the swap ‘n’ shop stuff – seeking a housesitter, or a house to sit; trying to find a guitar, or a buyer for that mint 1949 Fender Telecaster in the attic; searching for someone whose last known address was Off-the-Grid, YT.
Almost without fail, demand meets supply in a matter of minutes.
The third major ArtsNet function is the Grand Debate.
That’s when someone, intentionally or not, raises a subject that stirs others in this great cyber hug-fest to show their colours in the matter at hand.
A recent example was the swell mini-debate on whether or not local movie theatres should become 3-D compatible.
As a long-time movie buff, this exchange triggered a flood of memories of fine, and not-so-fine, cinematic experiences.
To clarify what “long-term” means in this context, the first movie I ever saw was Cinderella.
What was remarkable – apart from Gus-Gus and Jac, who remain treasured icons in my mind – was that children weren’t allowed into movie theatres in Quebec in those days because of a tragic fire a few years earlier.
Somehow, Cinderella was exempt from this prohibition. Presumably Walt Disney had more clout with the fire marshal than Premier Duplessis.
A few years later, in Walkerton, Ontario (yes, that Walkerton), our weekly film fix came from the Roxy Theatre. Price of admission? Two wire coat hangers. Some weeks, anyway.
Perhaps it was to replenish the nation’s supply of metal, depleted in the recent war. Or perhaps the local dry cleaner just wanted his hangers back.
But if “borrowing” a couple of hangers from the parental closet could get me the Movie Tone news, Daffy Duck, an Abbott and Costello short plus the latest adventures of Hopalong Cassidy, why ask questions?
I was a nine-year-old in Windsor when 3-D had its first big go-round, complete with those chintzy cardboard-and-cellophane glasses that made everyone look like an asymmetrical alien.
Memory won’t cough up whether the first 3-D flick I saw was It Came from Outer Space, or the Vincent Price spookerama, House of Wax, which also offered something called stereophonic sound.
Alas, the miracle of red-eye, green-eye viewing that was supposed to bring the image up close and personal didn’t seem to work for me. Perhaps it was astigmatism, or just my skeptical young nature.
The 3-D fad soon faded, but nearly 50 years later, here we go again.
Yes, I saw Avatar, and yes, it had blue people who looked three-dimensional. Sort of.
But even the grandest of special effects couldn’t make it my kind of movie.
Now a much older skeptic, I remain unconvinced that a technology will arrive anytime soon that can convince me the on-screen characters and I inhabit the same dimension.
Besides, do I really want the illusion that Angelina Jolie is about to drop into my lap? Or Brad Pitt, for that matter?
Definitely not those stampeding bison in Dances with Wolves.
And even if Angelina did drop by, I certainly wouldn’t want her to see me in those dorky cardboard glasses.
For those who want 3-D available locally, I say go for it. Lobby hard.
As for me, my movie-house expectations are pretty modest.
All I really want is a good story well told, a comfortable seat, a clean floor, quiet neighbours and a decent box of popcorn, at a price I can afford.
Like, maybe, a couple of coat hangers.