I finally saw the movie Crazy Heart this weekend. The Ex came over for a good old-fashioned dinner and a movie night -- we had the most incredible Spanish beef stew -- so good, I really toyed with passing it off as my own, but I confessed the reality, which was that we were the lucky recipients of friends cleaning out their fridge pre-Vacation (my friends... if his friends had cleaned out their fridges, we'd have had mustard packets and Belvedere shots for dinner).
We had planned to see the movie when it was in town, but it was only here for a blink-and-you-missed-it run.
We have a history that made it the kind of movie I wouldn't want to see with just anybody. He's good-naturedly gone to a million singer-songwriter concerts with me over the decades -- the kinds of artists and shows I got my start writing about as a music critic, from Townes Van Zandt on. He has a lot of strong opinions in a lot of areas, but I don't really know what he listened to before I came along, and since me, he's mostly listened to whatever I was writing about in a given week, or whatever show I dragged him to. He's an early adopter on all the technology -- iPods and iPhones and iPads and docking stations and all that -- but I've always been in charge of the playlist. It's a good system. We've honed lots of good arrangements like this over the years.
(Like the one where I cook and he cleans the kitchen. Though when he didn't load the dishwasher to my specifications this weekend, I did learn a codicil, which is that I'm not allowed to complain about his cleaning any more than he'd be allowed to complain about my cooking. Or as he put it under my disapproving direction, "they're just fuckin' plates.")
Yesterday, I recommended the movie to a guy I'd recently gone on a first date with -- and the conversation turned out to be the perfect introduction to our respective musical tastes. It hadn't really come up so far, and I was thinking if he liked this movie, the odds were good he wouldn't be subjecting me to Coldplay (show tunes would be an entirely different story). Any excuse to judge is an excuse I'll take.
What surprised (and amused) me was that he was just as obviously using the discussion as a litmus test, as his questions got more pointed.
When he seemed increasingly surprised by my long list of favorite singer/songwriters, bands, shows, and albums (yeah, I still call them that), I finally wondered what he was getting at. I asked if he'd pegged me as a closeted Taylor Swift fan or something?
Turns out he was thinking more along the lines of, and I quote, "Melissa Etheridge... kd Lang... " Which I suppose was the equivalent of me quizzing him about Lady Gaga. He was wondering how seriously I take my... Ry Cooder, as it were.