An 'entertaining' 45 years: Getting in the groove


I didn’t expect the Democrats to let me stay in office forever, so I went back to Don Fowler for my byline, wondering if anyone was reading me.

The best way to find out is to spell somebody’s name wrong, get the characters mixed up, and find out that there are people out there who vehemently disagree with your review.

When my political campaign had me knocking on doors, I had recently bombed a local production of “Misalliance.”

“Hello, I’m Don Fowler, and I’m running for City Council.”

“I know who you are,” the actor that I had not been very kind to said, “and I wouldn’t vote for you if you were running for dog catcher.”

I quickly learned to be a bit more understanding with local productions and actors who don’t get paid, but perform out of love for the theatre. I would use terms like “needs a bit more work” or “not up to their usual standards.”

I enjoyed college theatre and was especially impressed with the Brown University Theatre.

I reviewed John Kennedy Jr. in “Bad Boys.” He was a great actor. Word was that his mother discouraged him from pursuing and acting career.

Laura Linney was my favorite. I wrote in a review that she was a “promising young actress,” and gave her a copy when she came to Brown a few years ago to give a lecture. I have recently enjoyed her performance on the Netflex “Ozark” series, conforming my opinion that she was indeed a promising young actress. Years later I met Kate Burton at a Trinity fundraiser, many years after she had acted at Brown.

During my senior year in college, I discovered that I was a half credit short of graduating. It was either Flower Arranging of Music Appreciation. I chose to sit in the classroom listening to scratchy records of Beethoven’s Fifth and Shubert’s Unfinished Symphony. To this day I cannot listen to the latter without repeating in my head, “This is the symphony that Shubert never finished.”

After listening to rock and roll during my younger years, I turned to the Rhode Island Philharmonic in the late ’70s and have been addicted to classical music ever since.

My nephew stayed overnight at my house after attending a Grateful Dead concert in Boston. I invited him to join me for a concert that evening. Not wishing to hurt my feelings, he agreed.

During the rousing finale of the “1812 Overture,” he turned to me and said, “Wow, Uncle Don that was awesome!”

Another soul converted.

My first movie review was in 1978, when I reviewed the excellent “Coming Home,” starring Jon Voight and Jane Fonda.

While I am enjoying watching past Netflix shows like ”Dexter” and “Nurse Jackie,” I miss the big screen, and wonder why multiplexes can’t open, using social distancing in their huge theatres. Maybe it is because the last movies that were made are not that good and promising new movies are being held up. And, of course, there is the current lack of production.


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