Nostalgia for the Past | sea ​​style

To say I’m nostalgic for the past doesn’t mean I’m not engaging with the new world. That means having no cash and paying for everything by putting my phone on a small device. Buy clothes, groceries and household items online and give up shopping as a Saturday afternoon past. Not owning a landline but having a phone on my hip. Text friends and family instead of speaking in person. Soon I’ll have an artificial intelligence robot and I won’t even need human friends.

There are those moments when I just want to take a step back in time. Do you remember when we went to the cinema? We went to the counter, pulled leather wallets out of our pockets, paid for the tickets with cash and received two small red tickets in return. We then bought popcorn and a soda before settling into the spiky, sometimes sticky, velvet seats to watch the big screen. If we go to the cinema now, there will be wine and espresso, the tickets have already been bought online and the seats have been allocated. Why bother when you can stream on a big screen at home.

I’ll admit that I was one of the people who went back to the theater to see Top Gun: Maverick when it opened Memorial Day weekend. Over the three days of the weekend, the domestic box office recorded $153 million in receipts, breaking other Memorial Day weekend records. What fun. An old-fashioned adventure, a love affair, a conflict with an enemy, and of course, a happy ending. I left the theater smiling. Somehow I felt stable.

Last weekend I had another nostalgic experience. “Summer of Soul” – the documentary film based around footage of musical performances taking place over six Sundays between June 29 and August 24 at Mount Morris Park in Harlem during the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival – was screened at the same park, in which also the festival took place. The documentary not only includes footage from the festival, but also includes news clips and interviews with people who were there to provide historical context. Musicians and performers included Stevie Wonder, Mahalia Jackson, Nina Simone, The 5th Dimension, Gladys Knight & the Pips, and Sly and the Family Stones, among others. The raw material sat in a box for 50 years and was only released last year. The film has received many awards and critical acclaim.

The Friday night screening of “Summer of Soul” took place at the renamed Marcus Garvey Park, under a beautiful summer evening sky and in an amphitheater with people from the neighborhood, the audience came alive. Dancing, clapping and singing along. How could we not? This music, soul, rock, gospel, is the core of American music.

Sitting there on Friday night, I realized I hadn’t been to a drive-in movie theater in decades and am hoping to enjoy “flying popcorn” at the Weirs drive-in movie theater some weekend this summer. It also reminded me of a time when going to the A&W for a root beer float was a real adventure, and ordering from the car was a real adventure.

Another theater that makes me feel nostalgic is the Red River Theater in Concord. On a humid August evening when the air was still, I took my mother to see a movie. It was nearing the end of her life, her mobility was limited and the heat bothered her. When we got to the theater, we were told that the air conditioning was not working. Noticing my mother’s struggling, the woman collecting the tickets disappeared, then reappeared at our seats with two paper fans and huge mugs of ice water and tall straws. A gesture I always remembered.

Through film we connect with the past, beginning with the early silent films. Films allow us to understand the world through different cultural lenses. Sitting in Marcus Garvey Park on Friday night, I could recall listening to these artists, dancing to the same music and remembering the political climate of the late 1960s. Nothing stays the same, but there are moments when it’s nice to give in to nostalgia and live in our memory for a few hours.

I wonder if robots will have memories that make them feel nostalgic?

Elizabeth Howard is the host of the Short Fuse Podcast, which can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or via ArtsFuse. Her career combines journalism, marketing and communication. Ned O’Gorman: A Glance Back, a book she edits, was published in May 2016. She is the author of A Day with Bonefish Joe, a children’s book published by David R. Godine. You can send her a message to [email protected]

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