During the holidays, we go
to great lengths to recapture
that sense of joy and connection
we first experienced as children.
Here we are once again. The holidays. They bring us home. We might not really travel home and we might not define the destination as home. But we are programmed to want those places in our hearts and our thoughts where love resides. We want to re-experience old and pleasing connections to community. We need and want that feeling of belonging. And though most of us move on, relocate, create new families and select new friends, we invest great energy in building familiar networks. And now here we are, for a month or so, returning to the touchstone. It’s as if we can really go back – to that feeling of kin all about us. The warm bed. The full belly. The prospect of another incredible tomorrow. That place where we learned how to love.
Holidays slow us down enough so we can notice that, in fact, such feelings of community exist all about us. I found it again last night at Cape Ann Cinema in Gloucester, Mass. The cinema is located in a big room above a used record store. It’s a quirky movie theater run very well by a young man named Rob with longish hair and a passion for cinema.
Here are five reasons to celebrate places like this, where the makings of a joyful community are generously and cleverly provided. Forgive the political statement, but it’s a perfect fusion of commerce and community. More like this, please!
(1) Multi-purpose movies
Improves reading skills (subtitles): The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Transports us to new places: The Secret of Kells. Makes us think: Freakonomics. Helps others: Race to Nowhere (education fundraiser). Provokes laughs: Four Lions. Gives us art: Shakespeare in Cinema—Love’s Labour’s Lost and Opera in Cinema—Valkyrie.
(2) Something for every body
A big room full of couches, comfortable accent chairs, recliners, even wooden desks for those with perfect posture or type A personalities. You can’t help but get comfortable!
Per the owner: “Half the oil, organic, delicious.” More to the point, per me: I’d go to this theater just to eat the popcorn. It’s also half the price of the chains and includes about 20 types of seasoning. There’s a stack of big bowls so you can each have your own bowl of popcorn. For popcorn buffs and control freaks, this feature alone is worth the price of admission.
(4) Feeling “tucked in”
No blinding overhead lighting. Floor lamps strategically positioned. As previews draw to a close, proprietor quietly moves about the large room, turning off a lamp here and there. A gentle refocusing and there you are, in the dark and engaged with your movie. Wait a minute, is that a fleece blankie I see on the back of the recliner in front of me?
(5) Among friends
We sit among neighbors, family, friends. This is quite different from stadium seating that positions us so we don’t even see each other. Here we are just one big living room of like-minded people. When we leave, we help each other with our coats and hold the door for each other.
And we all say thank you to Rob, who, it seems, never lost that loving feeling!