A Tribute to Vincent Price

Normally the Collins Road 5 Theater shows recently recleased movies in second run, marketing themselves as the most affordable theater in town with the best concession prices and REAL buttered popcorn. In itself, that’s a pretty big selling point in my book. I’m mostly past the need to see new releases opening weekend and for the few films that I really think need to be seen on the big screen, having an inexpensive ticket and tasty popcorn with REAL butter improves the experience greatly.

Sometimes, thoug, they do something truly special. Hosting a tribute to Vincent Price with his daughter,Victoria, as a special guest speaker was one of those things.

Vincent Price was one of the icons of my childhood. Seeing his name in the opening credits of a film meant it was going to be especially good. I remember rooting for his characters (good or villainous) on the small screen curled up on the couch with my mother under a colorful afghan she crocheted, eating toast with cinnamon and sugar, and drinking Cambrick tea. 

When the little film festival popped up in my Facebook feed, there was no doubt I was going to go see it. I didn’t remember having seen Laura before (though once it started, it came flooding back), but The Fly? 

Hell, yes! Gimme more of that.

His daughter speaking about her father? That I didn’t know what to expect, but I figured at worst, she’d be dull and I’d still get to see two great films for the low price of $15 and worth every penny at that.

Victoria turned out to be the best part of the evening, worth the price of admission and more by herself.

Don’t misunderstood me. Laura was beautiful and Vincent’s role in the film was stunning. I’d forgotten what a beautiful man he was when he wasn’t trying to look like a villain. He towered about his costars even as he slouched and cowered his way around the sets, the broke milksop Southern dandy turned gigolo, fawning over ladies with money to get them to pay his way in the world.

And The Fly? 

What can be said about The Fly that hasn’t been said? He’s the bright spot in the film as the elder brother trying to find the truth about his younger brother’s apparent murder by his doting mouse of a wife (whom Prices character is secretly in love with), and to my way of thinking, horribly underutilized in the role. The detective dismisses the idea that Price’s character could have committed the murder before he’s even really investigated the possibility. Drawing that possibility out could have made a much more suspenseful film, especially before the wife tells her apparently crazy version of events.

Victoria turned out to be gracious and utterly charming, inviting those of us there to see the film (and it was a good sized crowd with very few empty seets) to join her in celebrating her father’s life, not just his film career, but the attitude he approached life with and the way he lived.

He said “yes” to everything.

Yes, I’ll take that role that I might not really be interested in. I’ll try that new restaurant. Yes, I’ll explore the town I’m in for a speaking engagement. He said yes and then he did it joyfully. So joyfully, in fact, that Victoria’s own joy and enthusiasm were infectious. I don’t think anyone could help but smile as she shared stories that underlined that point.

She said that “yes” was the key to both joy and to creativity. Yes with caveats didn’t count, either. That was just a type of no, ‘no’ didn’t lead to a life. It lead to existence alone and that it robbed a person of the potential for joy because it robbed them of opportunities. 

Her closing remarks centered around the idea that sometime before Halloween, if people wanted to really honor her father’s life and work, that they should say ‘yes’ to something new or yes to something they might be tempted to say no to and go with it enthusiastically to see where it might lead.

It’s kind of a scary prospect. Yes opens the door to uncertainty. No is a safe path. Nothing happens with no. Nothing. Scary films are a breeze. Uncertainty is where the real terror is found.

It may not seem like a big thing, I jumped in on the idea of ‘saying yes’ by saying yes to new food at a new restaurant. Trying the Pig and Porter down in NewBo wasn’t the tough part. I like new restaurants, though I do usually look for something safe and familiar on the menu for my first go of things. 

The tough part was an egg sunny side on top of a savory pork belly pancake with wiggling bonito flakes on top of it.

Wiggling. Bonito flakes. The very umame, acquired taste ingredient that’s something of a staple in Japanese and very much outside the comfort zone of many an American palate. 

Did I mention the wiggling? The menu should really have a warning: Do not be alarmed. This food is supposed to wiggle. Also, it has a sunny side up egg on it. Do not be alarmed by this, either.

The bonito flakes are shaved so thin that the hot steam rising from the pancake makes them writhe and wriggle like they’re still alive. Between that and the egg staring at me like Mike Wazowski’seyeball, I found it actively disconerting.

I immediately regretted not ordering the vegetarian looking pumpkin dish when I saw my dinner looking like it was trying to escape my plate.

It absolutely wasn’t what I would have picked for myself. The Roommate wanted to try both the Pork Belly Pancake and the Cuban Sausage with Mustard Spaetzel, so I said yes to the pork belly pancake. Why not, I thought? Wasn’t the point of going to new places to try new things. 

We each took some of the other’s meal, and then I tried my pancake bravely. (Well, mostly bravely. The Roommate took one for the team by taking half the pancake and the half of the egg with the soft yolk.) 
The pork belly pancake was surprisingly tasty. The Roommate’s Cuban Sausage with Mustard Spaetzel was tastier. I’d eat either again, though knowing what I know now, I’d ask for them to cook the egg hard because I know I don’t care for eggs done with soft yolks.

Say yes. Follow through enthusiastically and with joy.
It’s still very experimental to me, but I’ve got the ticket stub sitting on my desk at the day job, a reminder that the next opportunity for ‘yes’ is right around the corner, waiting for me to try it out.

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