On Broadway

Bill and I had a great time Thursday night at the world premiere of On Broadway at the Somerville Theatre as a part of the Independent Film Festival of Boston.

We were lucky to be invited because Terrence Hayes, son of Bill’s long time business partner Richie Hayes (both Bill and Richie have emphasized the need to always include the word business) was the cinematographer.

Written and directed by Dave McLaughlin, On Broadway tells the story of Jack O’Toole who is moved by the death of his uncle to write and mount a play in the back of a pub.  Joey McIntyre stars and is really, really good, forcing me to re-examine my opinion about everyone who has ever appeared on Dancing with the Stars.

The story is a serious one about the power of art and dreams, but the movie also includes great comedic turns by Lucas Caleb Rooney, Dossy Peabody, Will Arnett (who plays the brother in Arrested Development–no not that brother, the other brother), Robert Wahlberg (who is Mark Wahlberg’s brother–no not that brother, the other brother–btw did you know it is illegal to shoot a movie Boston without including at least one Wahlberg?) and Mike O’Malley, as Jack O’Toole’s brother, the Father.  It was particular fun to see O’Malley because he gave the commencement address at Kate’s UNH graduation last year.  Bush 41 and Bill Clinton are doing it this year, so Kate is a bit chuffed, but honestly having talked to lots of parents who sat through lots of speeches, it’s hard to believe any were more appropriate, heartfelt and entertaining than O’Malley’s.  It’s one of those things where I didn’t know who he was when he gave the speech and now it feels like he is everywhere.)

The movie started late (apparently because no one in either Boston or Hollywood can master the concept of come in, find your seat, and sit in it) which provided plenty of opportunity for rubbernecking.  Most of the cast were there.  Watertown girl Eliza Dushku provided a little glamour with a truly spectacular dress.

I have to say the movie is beautifully shot and looks far, far more expensive than it was.  McLaughlin and Terrence took material that could have been quite stagey-looking and instead gave us intimate shots, crowd shots, tons of locations and wonderful, loving sweeps of Boston.

Anyway, I recommend On Broadway.  Thursday night was sold out  (since McLaughlin is one of 11 children, McIntyre one of 9 and Wahlberg one of 9, it’s amazing there was room for anyone else in the theatre), but there are still seats for Sunday.

I Am Lost

 I am taking a new writing class, one that focuses on constructing scenes.  I like the one below because it works on a lot of levels and has the advantage of being absolutely true.


I am lost.  At twenty-five, the age when most lawyers begin their first jobs, I have left my job as a paralegal.  I am making my living as a free-lance title examiner, spending my days tracing other people’s stories through big dusty books.  For some reason, one of my lawyer clients has decided to use my services to deliver subpoenas.  The assignments he chooses for me are not difficult or dangerous.  As mortgage interest rates rise to 18% and my title business slows, I see no reason to say no.

Except that I am terrible at the job.  In an age before Google Maps, I have no sense of direction and hate talking to strangers, particularly in situations that betray my ignorance.  I will drive forty miles out of my way rather than ask for directions.

This morning, I have used town maps to find my way to a suburb south of Boston, an area where I have never been.  As always in Massachusetts, the streets are a maze and street signs are minimal.  Am I on Acorn Street, Acorn Terrace or Acorn Circle?  The numbers on the houses are hard to spot as I cruise by.

Eventually, I decide I must be close.  I abandon my car to search on foot.  It is late spring, mid-day.  The high sun focuses everything with bright intensity.  The lines of the houses are too sharp, the treeless suburban lawns glow an iridescent green.  The streets are deserted.  Not a car goes by.

A postman comes around the corner.  He is tall, in his summer uniform, graying red hair receding under his cap.  His mail bag looks heavy, but he moves with big, confident strides.  I long to ask directions, but can’t.

“Hi,” he says, saving me the trouble.  “What are you doing here?”

I explain about the subpoena, how I can’t find the address.

“So is that what you want to be, a lawyer?” he asks, squinting the manila envelope I hold out in my hand.

“I don’t know,” I stammer.  “It’s hard.  Unless you go to a top school, there aren’t that many jobs.”

“Nonsense!” he admonishes.  “You can’t think that way.  The cream will always rise.”

He pushes his cap back on his head and uses a handkerchief to wipe the sweat from his brow.  Then he points me in the right direction and sends me on my way.