Sunday, November 14, 2004

We're exhausted--Catherine probably more so than I--but last night's premiere of Kinsey was a success. Well, there was a bit of a fiasco with the ticketing, but I think that's forgivable. It's not like the Kinsey Institute is usually in the business of arranging movie premieres. At any rate, everything else seemed to work out very nicely. Somehow I ended up with a ticket to the V.I.P. reception, but I stayed at the regular reception (good food) with our friend Erika while Catherine spent time with the Important People. Laura Linney actually took the time to fly back to Indiana from Vancouver, just so she could attend the reception and make some opening remarks before the film. That was very generous of her--no way I'd fly across the country for a two-hour appearance. Bill Condon was there, as was the producer, Gail Mutrux.

Overall, I'm gratified that all the work Catherine and the rest of the collections staff put into supporting the movie was recognized. Bill Condon actually mentioned Catherine and Liana by name and thanked them in his public remarks before the opening, and I know that meant a lot to them and the rest of the collections staff. Catherine really enjoyed working with all the people from the movie, they were all very nice and real. Some people from the major media outlets can be a*imperious*...but that wasn't the case with this project. They seemed genuinely interested in the Kinsey Institute, and very concerned that the movie they were making wouldn't harm the Institute in any way.

In terms of Catherine's job, perhaps the most important speech of the evening was delivered by the Chancellor, Kenneth Gros Louis. He very firmly indicated that he--and thus the University?--supported the past, current, and future work of the Kinsey Institute. It is an absolute rarity for the Institute to get such open and public support from the University, and I hope IU sticks behind the Chancellor's remarks once the anti-Kinsey protests get into full swing.

I liked the movie. It was a lot funnier than I thought it would be. Or, at least it was funny to people in Bloomington, but it could have been because we were all reading between the lines. The first time Catherine saw the movie, she didn't like it so much, but I thought it was just because she was too close to the subject. The people at the Kinsey are very protective of Alfred Kinsey and his reputation, he's like their father. They are also understandably worried about the public response and what it means to their future, so they can't really watch the movie as just a movie. She also thought they left a lot of stuff out, so it felt as if it was full of holes, but I think the regular audience won't see it that way. You only know there's a hole if you're intimately familiar w/Kinsey's life, and most people just aren't. Seeing the movie again last night, Catherine decided I was right. She was so anxious the first time she watched it that she couldn't really focus on it as a movie. She really liked it last night.

Anyway, aside from one awkward scene near the beginning, I liked it. I think people in Bloomington were dismayed that the movie gave the impression that Herman B Wells wasn't going to stand and fight for Kinsey, and that was absolutely untrue, but again, that's not something people outside IU are going to care about. The ending was much different than I thought it would be, so optimistic. I always think of Kinsey as sort of a tragic figure, dying before he finds out that they win the court case and his work can still continue. But the movie emphasizes his will to finish his work, rather than all the obstacles still in his way, and that's nice. And I love Lynn Redgrave, and I loved her role at the end. If she had been upstairs at the V.I.P. reception, I would have dumped Erika in a heartbeat and spent my evening following her around.

I'm surprised the movie was rated R instead of NC-17. I would have thought that the lantern slide scene alone might have pushed it over the edge w/the ratings people. It really is unusual to sit through a movie that doesn't just have sexual content, but is unrelentlessly *about* sexual content. It renewed my weariness with the topic of sex, actually. I think it's only an interesting topic if you don't have to deal with it all time. When people hear what Catherine does for a living, their eyes light up and they just start chatting about all kinds of things. It is rather assumed because we live together that of course I'm interested in hearing these things, too. You know what? I'm not. There was a scene in the movie where one of the young wives finds herself in the middle of a conversation about everyone's sex habits, and as she's standing there, shifting around uncomfortably, I found myself thinking, "I know EXACTLY HOW YOU FEEL!"

Anyway, we're tired. We had a choice of two after parties, and we decided to go to the one at the home of Wendy Corning (Kinsey's granddaughter). An apology to the people who own the first house off the road to Wendy's house: I'm sorry I ended up outside your front door at 11:00 at night, and I'm even sorrier I had my headlights on full beam). It was very nice, with more good food, but by half-past midnight, I was almost falling over with exhaustion. We were out late at another Kinsey event on Friday, and we ran in a 5k race yesterday morning before getting all dressed up to go to the premiere, so we were both really running on empty by that point.

In the end, there was something really rewarding about the evening, listening to people talk about how important Kinsey was, how important the Institute is, how important the work there is. To us, the Institute is rather pedestrian. It's just where Catherine goes to work every day (seven days a week, lately). To me, it's just the building next to the parking lot where I drop her off and pick her up, and really, her job is usually just a point of disagreement with us. For the past two years, at least, I've been nagging her to find a new job, one that doesn't require so many hours for so little pay. But there was a moment there last night when everyone just felt like we were touching greatness, that Kinsey had started something more important than we could understand, that it was essential that someone keep up the good work. I think for Catherine, especially, it was good to hear that what she does is helping someone, somewhere. Well, I'm still looking forward to her next job, but in the meantime, this has been a great reward for her and I'm glad she got to experience it.

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