There are NO Harry Potter spoilers in this post
So a co-worker spent the weekend devouring the last Harry Potter book. She was being VERY careful around the office not to say anything that could remotely spoil the fun for anyone else who may still be reading the book. But since I haven’t read any of the books and I’ve seen only one movie that I barely remember anyway and I honestly see no future involving me reading any of the books, I followed her into her office, closed the door and asked her in hushed tones to tell me how it all ends.
Which she did. In hushed tones. So now I know. And I am not spoiling anything by saying that the ending is so convoluted (it took her about 15 minutes to explain it all to me) and involves so many characters I’ve never even heard of that I couldn’t possibly explain any of it to you even if I were the sort of asshole who went around deliberately spoiling people’s fun. (Hermione’s a dude!)
Even though I don't plan on reading the books, I’m thrilled that the series has people (especially kids) reading so enthusiastically. And that it has religious wingnuts so apoplectic over its juggernaut-like influence in the spread of witchcraft, child-eating and kitten-spanking. I also love stories about curses and secrets and magic and castles and intrigue and girls named Hermione who turn out to be dudes, so you’d think I’d be eagerly devouring Harry Potter books as fast as they’re written. But as it is, I can barely keep up with my growing piles of Times and Newsweeks and New Yorkers, so I have no interest in piling seven hefty Harry Potter books on my shrine to reading failure.
I have had time, though, to make two date nights in a row with the fiancé. Last night we saw Hairspray, which we adored. I know some homos were wanting to get all boycotty on the movie because of John Travolta and Scientology and homophobia, but we quite frankly couldn’t work up much of a lather over any of that. (Since virtually all religions have underpinnings—or downright foundations—of homophobia, what religious actor isn’t involved in a homophobic religion? And how perfect is “lather” in a paragraph about Hairspray?) In any case, the movie is delightful, the costumes and wigs are fabulous, the choreography (though filmed in a way that makes it hard to watch at times) brings a fresh take to ’60s standards, and James Marsden is positively dreamy. John Travolta doesn’t bother me at all in the movie, and in fact I like the humanity he brings to Edna. I do think Zac Efron is way too young to play Link, though, and Amanda Bynes is kind of dull as Penny. And holy shit is Elijah Kelley charismatic as Seaweed. And even though I’m still bitter I didn’t get cast as Velma, we’ll totally see it again.
Then tonight the fiancé met me at work and we walked to Millennium Park with a blanket and a bag of treats and enjoyed Ravel’s hypnotic Boléro on a program of 20th Century French Orchestral Works That Jake’s Otherwise Never Heard Of on the lawn of the Pritzker Pavilion. It’s all part of Chicago’s free Grant Park Music Festival, and we intend to go back as often as we can this summer. And next time we plan to bring snacks that are a little healthier (but no more refreshingly delicious) than these:
After the concert, we wandered through the Millennium Park grounds and even took an obligatory tourist picture of our reflections in The Bean (officially known as Cloud Gate):
Let the record show, though, that The Bean is a curved surface, so any weird distortions you see here do not reflect the naturally manly shapes of our bodies. Or our names aren’t Hermione.