It’s Friday and my eyes are blurred with sweat and tears (luckily, no blood) and I am feeling all Tennessee Williams from watching young people on videos making the world a better, lovelier place, including Riley Roberts testifying for marriage equality in Nevada, and Beth Crandall bringing a “Guys & Dolls” vibe to Justin Timberlake music.
It’s too damn hot. I was born for cooler climes.
The oppressive humidity and heat that radiated earlier this week belong not here in what is essentially the Mid-Atlantic, but, rather, in the deep south, that landscape strangled in the embrace of creeping kudzu and rotten with the ripe perfume of the magnolia and lilac with a hint of the stench of swamp and too, that rotting odor of the barely-repressed desires of Tennessee Williams heroines.
The only benefit of the sweltering, scalding scorch of the summer’s searing parch is the emergence of the bare-chested boys on their bicycles or bouncing, loping lazily along in laconic languor, not quite completely settled into their humanity, still part sweaty, wanton satyrs, casually concupiscent, prowling, sultry and libidinous, sticky and ripe with torrid, blistering, dangerous desires ready to explode like the thunder-storms that come and rage with the same sort of beautiful but terrifying and tumultuous, uncontrolled energy; that which cannot be constrained, that which must seek to roar in rapturous release; rash, incautious, heedless, unwary of and unable to contain the violence and destruction that sometimes results.
Youth. Today I am moved by two very different videos with this in common: they moved me to tears, they gave me hope and reminded me that in these stormy times there is beauty everywhere to be seen.
The first is the testimony of a young man from Nevada I do not know, have never known, named Riley Roberts. He speaks to marriage equality, in praise of his two moms and the life they gave him.
The second features members of the cast, orchestra and crew of Cleveland’s Hanna Theatre’s production of “Guys and Dolls” in a version of Justin Timberlake’s “Suit and Tie” – and I happen to have had the honor and privilege of having known one of those cast members and co-choreographers, Beth Crandall, when she was a tiny, young thing. I happened to stage one of her first song & dance numbers, long ago, complete with pink feather boa as she sang “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” and later, to watch her, still a youngling, tossing a fur and cavorting on a suitcase with wheels as she sang “Take Back Your Mink.”
The world is full of gloriously loving, talented, brilliant, visionary, creative young people. Some of them I have known. Some of them I have not. Some of them I watch loping down the street and envy the discoveries they have ahead. The future is bright. I can see this clearly through my sweat and tear-filled eyes.
Happy weekend all.