Entertainment
June 17, 2019
link to facebook link to twitter
More Stories
Cinnabar’s “Barber” hilarious! “The Tailor of Gloucester” A new Christmas miracle Delightful slapstick in “Moon Over Buffalo” “Hamlet” captivates viewers Entertainment News The Play’s the thing in Sonoma County Middle school madness: Songs, dances, a flying car called “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” “Dreams” All abilities adaptive dance presentation SFI to celebrate 30th anniversary of Spike Lee’s “Do the right thing” Entertainment news The Great God Pan: A Modern Purging Shrek the Musical: ‘Be a Believer’ Captivating one woman shows “The readiness is all” Spreckels presents Hamlet TAG’s first dramatic show Students of South Korea’s Hanyang University to perform at Green Music Center The Addams Family: Trick and Treat Many Faces of 6th Street’s “Faceless” SSU to host Sonoma County fire relief concert Skip Cliff Notes: See “All the Great Books Abridged” Entertainment news “Cinderella”: Fun for all Entertainment news SRJC’s “Superstar,” one fun rock concert Spreckels Performing Arts Center: More than meets the eye Entertainment News Delgado brings his bass to the “Million Dollar Quartet” “Barbeque Apocalypse”: Grilling, chilling and killing “Jesus Christ Superstar” Reprised by SRJC 6th Street Playhouse reprises “To Kill a Mockingbird” New Dimensions in “Mockingbird” Rehearsing scenes Jazz benefit scheduled for homeless March madness in local plays Princess No Name rehearsal Evil witch at ‘Chasing Charming’ rehearsal Tech drama students bring curriculum to the stage RP ready for Founders Day Spreckels celebrates 30th season with party Entertainment News Entertainment news Entertainment News SSU chooses not to build outdoor pavilion at GMC Entertainment news Lawrence Jones presents two spring plays Entertainment news

“Green Book” An odd couple travels the South in 1962

By: Janet and Lanny Lowery
January 4, 2019

“Green Book”, based on a true journey taken by a brilliant African-American pianist, Don Shirley, and a Bronx bouncer, Tony Vallelonga, in 1962, stars Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. It smacks of all the opposites attract, odd couple, buddy trip themes ever created, yet it delivers a glance into culture, history and psychology that is refreshingly instructive.

Before the story unfolds too far, the title “Green Book” surfaces. This book, developed by a New York City postal worker in the 1930s, served as a guide for African-American travelers from the 1930s through the mid 1960s. Its purpose, to identify hotels, restaurants and gas stations that were for “colored only.” Tony “Lip” Vallelonga (played by Mortensen), temporarily out of work, agrees to drive the pianist, Don Shirley (played by Mahershala Ali) to his concert appointments.

As the trip progresses, each unlike character shares about his own background and begins to learn about the other’s background. Stereotypes surface mile by mile, but they also breakdown. Humor emerges through a variety of misunderstandings along with some serious new insights about each character’s behavior.

When Tony “Lip” discovers the pianist has some interests that were not often discussed in the sixties, the Bronx bouncer, who sometimes appears to be a candidate for the Tony Soprano gang, shows some humanity as he quips, “It’s a complicated world.” Tony has seen many things as a bouncer at the Copacabana, things that have made him tolerant of a variety of people’s choices.

Ali and Mortensen deliver strong performances. Each remains in character while presenting figures that undergo changes through this travel experience. Neither betrays the essential person that he plays. The relationship grows realistically while eluding melodramatic hazards.

Can we look for Oscar nominations for “Green Book”? The American Film Institute has recognized it as one of the top 10 films. It won The People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival and it has been nominated for five Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture.

Finally, the ending may make this a seasonal choice for many years. “Green Book” is currently playing at the Rialto in Sebastopol and the Summerfield in Santa Rosa. Great story, fun characters and a dark ride into the segregated South make this a must-see film.