With my public library's copy of the Australian film, Mao's Last Dancer, finally in the DVD player, I lean into the screen, awaiting the scene I've rehearsed in my mind since reading the book: Li Cunxin, on a cultural exchange from China to Houston in the early 1980s, steps into the kitchen of his host's home. He sees a countertop full of small appliances and gadgets he can't even identify. It's culture shock, kitchen-style.
|I received these flowers, along with a book and chocolate,|
from the art department for Mao's Last Dancer.
As Li approaches the kitchen, I wait to see my "babies" in at least a supporting role. But, like a soccer mom jealous of the star player, I am a bit miffed to see a blender acquired elsewhere whirr into action, while my small appliances languish in an invisible corner on a crowded countertop, mere extras. At one point, my husband says, "I think that's your outlet!" We back up the DVD a few times, but I never see it; even if I had, it would be small consolation.
I'll never again look at a period film the same way. Every vintage piece onscreen likely cost the studio dearly. And for each prop seen, fifty may go unused or unnoticed, their only legacy, conspiring to raise admission enough, a frugal person would have to sell $1000 in vintage small appliances, outlets, kitchen towels, and office supplies to rationalize the purchase of a single ticket.
|A kitchen utensil |
sold to Martha
You see, I'm eagerly anticipating the centerfold featuring the kitchen utensils I sold to Martha Stewart Living.
Next: It's a sad day when I realize I can no longer get away with wearing my favorite dress: When I am Old, I Shall Wear Vintage