where the writers are

As a member of the Screen Actors Guild, my job over the next 45 days (or so) is to watch nominated motion pictures in various categories for the 2011 SAG Awards to make an informed decision when I fill out my ballot. Tonight, I enjoyed the Woody Allen-directed film, Midnight in Paris. It’s an enjoyable comedy starring Owen Wilson, Kathy Bates, Rachel McAdams, Adrien Brody, and Marion Cotillard.

In many ways, the star of the movie is the City of Lights. Locales are vividly photographed, and help share the narrative about an author who longs for a nostalgic view of the Paris. One landmark wonderfully featured is the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore. The shop is located at 37 rue de la Bûcherie, just steps away from the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Seine, and was opened in August 1951 by George Whitman. Originally called Le Mistral, it was later renamed in 1964.

Coincidentally, and to my chagrin, George Whitman died on Wednesday, December 14th, at his apartment above Shakespeare and Company. Whitman will be buried at the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris in good company of other icons, such as Colette, Oscar Wilde, and Balzac. His daughter currently handles the day-to-day operations of  his beloved book shop.


Midnight in Paris is a great date-movie, and a stirring tribute to folks who were part of the artist-elite of the 20th century, who spent time in this influential city including Gertrude Stein, Salvador Dali, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, Josephine Baker, Ernest Hemingway and Cole Porter.

George Whitman had turned 98 just two days ago.


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