Across the universe… Well, DC, anyhow & Raw breakie

At My Gift’s suggestion, I watched “Across the Universe,” the musical based on The Beatles’ music.

I was a bit skeptical, of course — how could other people singing The Beatles’ music be any good? Well, what a trip this movie is. The songs come alive, and the plot is sequenced so you can really see what each of the songs is about.

The overarching theme is how to respond in a world filled with injustice. In the 60s, there was a perfect storm of the Vietnam War abroad and Civil Rights unrest at home. All mediated by technology — TV brought war and rioting right into peoples’ livingrooms. There was no way to pretend it wasn’t happening, and suddenly people were faced with making a moral decision. Ignore it? Fight against it? And if you choose to fight, do you protest peacefully, or take up arms?

It’s interesting, because in the movie, during the song “Revolution” (which takes place in an SDS-like office), they sing:

We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out

but they decided to leave out what’s always been the most interesting part of the song for me — where Lennon sings: “Don’t you know that you can count me out… in… out,” as if wrestling with his choice.

Against this backdrop of social turmoil is the story of a handful of friends, each trying to fashion a personal moral center. The songs are used to explore the question that people faced in the 60s (and today): will you choose to be creative or destructive?

Will you choose violence (political or personal)? Will you choose to tune out with substances (there’s a whole segment devoted to the Merry Pranksters and their electric kool-aid acid test)? Will you choose to make art (and is that an adequate response)? Will you take refuge in spirituality?

Actually, the spiritual side of the Beatles wasn’t called out too much. Just one shot of Hare Krishnas dancing through a subway car. Perhaps the spiritual stuff seemed too out there (unlike chemically induced states of alternate reality! LOL!).

I’ve always loved the song “Across the Universe,” with its recurring line of “jai guru deva om.” Ah well, perhaps it isn’t quite time for a spiritual musical.

Wonderfully, the movie winds up with “All You Need Is Love.” Which is a great song, and the moral of the story — no matter how you ultimately get there.

Okay. Writing it out like that flattens out the affect of the experience. I was all weepy through many parts of the movie, and at the end, it’s totally uplifting.

Here: read Roger Ebert’s review. He’s better at this than I.

I’m just happy this movie is available for young people like My Gift to see. She’s seen documentaries and read about the 60s in school, but this movie makes you feel the 60s.


This time next week, I’ll be flying to DC for a few meetings at our Washington office. Did I break down and buy a proper winter coat? Indeed I did. At A $400 Michael Kors wool coat for $150. Go, me!

I’m trying to get my meeting schedule squared away so I can go practice with Tova (and Alfia, if she’s around) at their shala.

I think the Ashtanga community ought to reach out to our president-elect and bring him into the cult community. He looks like he’s cut out for an Ashtanga practice. As does his wife. C’mon, Tova and Alfia! You need to get going on this!


Current favorite (almost) raw breakfast:

Chopped fuji apple
Chopped medjool date
Chopped raw walnuts
Splash of soy milk
Nutmeg (LOTS of it! Yum!)

You can use nut milk if you want to be 100% raw. I’m not highly motivated to make nut milk, and I also have a soymilk addiction that I enjoy cultivating.


11 Responses

  1. aw, c’mon, it isn’t that cold here. ok, well, sometimes. you might bring some wool socks too. πŸ™‚

  2. Don’t try to lure me with your promises of not-freezing weather. I know it’s gonna be hellish. I’m ready, though! πŸ™‚

  3. I LUVED Across the Universe, and was also very skeptical of others singing Beatles’ music… but they did a fantastic job! They all have such wonderful voices. I saw it in the theater, which was great for having it so big and loud in my face!
    I think I might have to rent this soon, then I can sing along with abandon in the privacy of my house!
    Your breakfast sounds yummy.

  4. When my daughter visited for Christmas, she brought the soundtrack CD and ripped it to my hard drive — so I listened to it during practice this morning. It’s great practice music.

    And yes, I thought the movie was a really sensitive rendering of the music in its historical context — something I’d tried over the years to *explain* to my daughter — but to see it onscreen is SO much more effective.

    I wish I could see it on a big screen!

  5. I really wanted to see that movie in the theater – I’m excited to get it on DVD once I actually get a DVD player shortly. My impression was that I’d feel what it was like to be there… you do a lovely job describing it!

    DZM, you will love Tova and Alfia. Practicing/being with them is like a present. I just wish I could join you!

  6. Surely you must have some lawyerin’ business to do down in DC, Anna??


  7. maybe i can lure the ashtangi bloggers here now that i live somewhere πŸ™‚ allthough now i have no space to host people.

  8. hi Karen
    how nice you’re possibly getting together with Tova and Alfia. Hey, the prez said he also considered being an architect, so he’s quite versatile.

  9. I really wanted to see that film when it came out but somehow didn’t! I’m going to try and get it out on DVD now that you’ve reminded me about it!!


  10. I watched Across the Universe with your Gift a few months ago. I, also, was very skeptical. While I like the Beatles, I’d never really understood why they were so loved. After watching Across the Universe, though, I feel like all the history I’ve learned and the way older people talk about the 60s make so much more sense now. And I definitely appreciate the music more!

  11. Hi Suzanne! Thanks for validating my theory (that the movie brings the 60s alive for young people). πŸ™‚

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