“Anything can happen now… Even Gatsby could happen”

The Great Gatsby came out in theaters this week and I was so excited to see it. The 1920’s is by far my favorite decade and I love movies based on classic books. I hadn’t actually read The Great Gatsby before so I of course rushed right out and read it before seeing the movie. It wasn’t hard to finish before the movie because it’s such a short book and a fast read. I actually tried to slow myself down in order to properly comprehend all the subtleties of the novel but found I was carried along through the story as if on a rapid moving river.

I of course loved the book, the only problem was I inevitably set myself up for disappointment with the film. We all know the film is never as good as the book. Never the less my friends and I had planned an entire twenties themed night around the film debut and I was so excited.

We all dressed up in twenties garb complete with flask, fingerwave and quellazaire. I used sponge rollers to curl my hair and prepared the fingerwave all the night before. The night of the movie I added the accessories and about a pound of hairspray and “wallah!” a twenties hairdo that could last about a month if you let it. For the movie we went to the Little Theatre downtown. The Little is a historic theatre that was built in the 1920’s so there was no better place to see Gatsby. The Little and the whole downtown area totally added to the old-timey vibe.

The Movie

I was was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the movie. It of course had the spectacular visual quality that you would expect when describing Gatsby’s rich, lavish parties, yet I never doubted Hollywoood to put on a great “visual” show. It was capturing the details that I was most worried about. Perhaps because of the nature of the book, the short length and that quick read as I said which made me feel as if I was being taken by a swift current, that worked so well when translated onto the big screen. But I felt the movie had the same qualities. The lines from the movie were taken almost word for word from the book that I don’t think they left out a single scene. The even managed to capture some of the intangible details like Gatsby’s smile. One of my favorite parts in the book is when Nick Caraway says:

“He had one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced, or seemed to face, the whole external world for an instant and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself.”

And at that moment in the movie when you see Gatsby (DiCaprio) for the first time… maybe I just love Leo, but I got and felt all those things that Fitzgerald wrote. Maybe the movie only captures whats on the surface of the novel, much like what you get from your first read. I have no doubt that there is much more to Gatsby then meets the eye and therefore the big screen can not quite do him justice, but in the end the movie left me with a sense of tragic euphoria and a want to get rip-roaring drunk on old fashioned cocktails in a dark and smoky bar.

The Bar

The Daily Refresher on Alexander Street, a bar me and my friends love for its great speakeasy feel. The upstairs is a great space with a cozy L-shaped bar where the bartenders make great classic cocktails and dress the part to-boot. Unfortunately on Saturday night the upstairs bar was a bit crowded with what I would call the “East and Alexander Crowd” and the music was a bit more like a club then a speakeasy. We moved our party downstairs however where they have another large bar equipped to make all the Sidecars and “Dark & Stormys” our hearts desire. There the twenty-esk music was pumping and we had a blast dancing and drinking the night away as if we had just come from one of Gatsby’s parties ourselves.

I hope this bar continues to embrace their classic twenties theme with high quality cocktails and spirits with music that fits that same air. There is a love-hate feeling when your favorite spots begin to grow in popularity. Though I want them to succeed I hate feeling “pushed out” by the main stream crowd who only seems to infect the place until all the charm is gone.

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