Making and editing that video was only part of yesterday's busy day. Last night Dave and I went to see "An Evening with Jane Fonda" at the Savoy Theatre. TV host Graham Norton and Jane (who turns 80 on December 21, following my mother by about six months) sat together on the stage and chatted for a while, and then took questions from the audience -- and it was a terrific evening.
As I've written before (back when I saw her on Broadway in 2009) I've been an admirer of Jane Fonda since the '70s. I read her memoirs when they came out about ten years ago, and some of what she talked about last night she'd also discussed in the book. (She told several Katharine Hepburn stories, for example, mimicking Hepburn's distinctive quavery voice.)
She said several times that she believes she is in a continual process of "giving birth to herself," discovering her truths and readdressing what went before. "My life is my art," she said at one point, and I like that idea -- that by living you are creating, and constantly changing and evolving as well.
Of course she discussed the movies she'd made -- "Klute" and "On Golden Pond" and "Coming Home," about which she intimately described the filming of the famous sex scene. But she really came alive when she talked about politics -- about how part of the blame for Trump falls squarely on the neo-liberalism of the Democratic party, which has abandoned the working classes. Hillary Clinton didn't even visit several of the traditionally democratic working class states that she ultimately lost, Fonda pointed out. She said she liked Clinton and supported her, but blamed that turn away from the party's roots for its losses (and the gains of Trump and the Tea Party, which stepped into the gap).
Many working class people, she said, have lost crucial elements of their own identities -- the union jobs, the sense of belonging that those organizational ties brought, the feeling of being part of something greater than themselves. That's why the NRA has become so powerful, she said -- it has offered those people a place in a greater vision, a greater whole.
She also took a question from a woman who is Vietnamese, and who -- it turned out -- met Fonda and was photographed with her as a child during Fonda's anti-war visit to Hanoi in the early 1970s. (That visit still causes a lot of grumbling and eye-rolling among conservatives, including Dave's dad, but Fonda remains proud of it. Her mistake, she said, was being photographed atop an anti-aircraft gun, which wasn't loaded or being used at the time, but sent a false message that she was essentially gunning for her own countrymen.) Fonda and the woman had a bit of a moment remembering the circumstances of their meeting, and Fonda told the woman to visit her backstage after the show.
It was a fascinating evening! And during all this, Olga stayed home and slept off her adventures on the Heath, no doubt dreaming of squirrels.