THE STAR-NEWS -Sunday, November 27, 1977. c-1 Art HSuchwald Light ide " . - Neiman-Marcus, the, Texas-based department store which has a reputation of catering to oil and cattle millionaires, has just opened in Washington, D.C. This is no accident according to Feinbaum, a friend of many years. "Mr. Neiman and Mr. Marcus know where the money is these days." "But the people who work for the government in Washington just don't appear to be the types that Neiman-Marcus would cater to." "Neiman and Marcus weren't thinking about government employees tirlinM than 4as.saI ana 1aa TVi Alt in nn L I I. a lin.. 4-Win nni-mln twtV.i-i were work I uicy uci.iucu iu.ujcii hcic. incjr th inkirnrabourair the-people-who-i around the government. Washington dispenses $450 billion a year. There are a lot of guys in this town who work for a piece of that pie." "Such as?" "Lawyers, for one. There are enough lawyers in Washington to support 10 Neiman-Marcuses or I should say lawyers' wives. "Then there are lobbyists. They're always looking for something different to buy a friend in the House or the Senate. I read somewhere that Neiman and Marcus are pushing a jogging suit lined with ermine for 10 grand. You give somebody an ermine jogging suit and he'll never forget you." loveonefor myself," I admitted. "Then you have all the foreign embassies in this town. I hear South Korea opened up 100 charge accounts before the store was even built. ' "And don't forget the wives of doctors. They'll go to Neiman-Marcus at the drop of a fur hat." . "I forgot the doctors' wives," I said. "This town is also loaded with real-estate moguls who construct the buildings the government keeps or- dering to house all the new departments that keep cropping up. "These real-estate moguls work long hours and their wives get very unhappy sitting around doing nothing. Some of them are mad at their husbands for spending so much time away from home. But now the wives can get even by going to Neiman-Marcus and buying out the place.!' "Only Neiman and Marcus would have thought of the wives of real-estate moguls," I said. 1 "And let's not forget the girlfriends .in this town. As you know political power is one of the greatest aphrodisiacs. But no one ran live Jjy sex alone. A nice piece of jewelry can really keep a Washington romance from going stale."0 "Neiman-Marcus. should use that in their ads." "And finally, you have to remember that every head of state eventually comes to Washington. They can't go back to their countries empty-handed. One visit to the Washington Neiman-Marcus by the King of Saudi Arabia is equal to an entire Christmas season in Dallas." "You forgot the wives of the military-industrial complex," Hsaid. "Now you're talking about" megV bucks," Feinbaum said. "They make Texas oil :money look like rotten potatoes." "Well, I guess Neiman and Marcus knew what they were doing when they opened a branch in the nation's capital." , "You can bet your sweet life on that. When you have a city responsible for $450 billion, some of it hasjo rub off on the lingerie department of a fancy specialty store." ; Efforts win top awards H is goal : To catch a mockin gbird on fim By LAURA RITCHIE Star NrH Still WrKer It isn't Universal Studios, but Sidney Laverents' half acre at 3705 Mesa Vista Way in Bonita was perfect as the location for his latest movie, "Listen to the Mockingbird." The 16mm nature film documents the life of the mockingbird in sound and color. AND IT has won Laverents, 69, several national and international awards. It was chosen best nature film of 1977 and one of the 10 best films from more than 140 entries in the Photographic Society of America's ,r r v - - - Ar-'i us. I Im Yri"C - ''j VJ t' I l V "f ON LOCATION IN BONITA Sidney Laverents lines up a shot Joey Mam - Stor Newt photo international competition. It also won the award for best sound in the Canadian International Film Festival and took first place in the Society of Amateur Cinematographers competition. And it was chosen as one of the 10 . best films in the 10 Best of the West competition. THE FILM, which took almost four years to complete, opens with a colorful sunr is e and the s tar of the show silhouetted on a treetop. Laverents said the effort started when two mockingbirds built a nest just outside his living room window. He and his wife, Adelaide, cooperated in the filming effort. And that filming sometimes required a great deal of ingenuity to get close enough to effectively photograph the shy birds which are so well known throughout h southern half of North America. " One attempt to get close-up shots of young birds in a nest resulted in the frightened fledglings jumping out onto the ground. Laverents put them back repeatedly. No success in keeping them there, so he put them in a box. The parent birds accepted that, and tended the young birds devotedly. The film footage which shows Laverents working with the birds or special effects equipment is shot by either remote control or with his wife operating the camera. It's very effective. LAVERENTS' attempts to get tight close-ups of the birds in the free state were frustrated by the birds' shyness. So he built a trap which caught birds in soft fabric nets. Then he built a glass-sided box in which he placed them f& photography. With these aids, - some innocent looking "blinds" and the willingness to. assume undignified positions, he has captured some exceptional close shots. Such as a sequence in which the birds' double eyelid can be seen clearly as it blinks its eyes. Or a straight-on shot which shows the .unexpected prominent "eyebrows." The sound which accompanies the film is worthy of the award it has on. Some is simply the faithful recording of mockingbird songs.. Some drops the pitch down to the point where every shade of sound is audible to the human ear. At this speed and pitch, the difference between the i r ff V 1"""' 1 wai i 1,-f "." iii ill,,. I ,. V Y U U a Star -News photo CREATIVITY WINS AWARDS Sidney Laverents and some of his film -trophies mockingbird and the birds it mocks is easily heard. j" LIKE many nature films, this one is nice because it includes so much beauty. But -it does not lack drama, either. A sequence near the end shows the birds fightingto protect the nest from a tree-climbing gopher snake. Laverents says his audiences usually applaud the outcome of that struggle. Interested persons will be able to learn what that outcome is at the film's premiere showing Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. at the Casa del Prado auditorium in Balboa Park. That showing will include three other Laverents films, "ItSudses and Sudses and Sudses," "A Trip to Yesterday" and ''The One-Man Band." The one-man film festival adds up to an hour and a half of entertainment for a $1J50 donation. Tickets are available from Josephine Hoffman, 3660 Reynard Way, San Diego, from Laverents or at the door. ALTHOUGH Laverents regards his film-making as a vocation, proceeds of the "film festival" will go to the San Diego Amateur Movie club and the Southern California Assn. of Cajnera ' Clubs.- ' t Laverents is a retired flight test instrumentation engineer. Filrri-r making has been a hobby which grew into11 an avocation. Subjects have ranged from varied documentaries to comedies. In 1975, with a colleague, E.R. Schneider, he made a documentary of the building of , a huge tanker for National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., which has received wide distribution in the .hip-building industry. As he approaches 70, this' alert, imaginative retiree is far from ready for the rocking chair set. Instead, he "listens, to the mockingbird" and turnslts song into the sweet sound of success. Like It Is MimEDllim9 E&nmmlfoalllls aimdl ttlhie Ibfig Me I learned, early on, not to trust any man too far, but sometimes one gets careless.. I suspect I have now been misled into publishing an erroneous conclusion concerning the Thanksgiving celebration? by the New England immigrants who settled in South Bay more than 100 years ago. Not that Frank Kimball would mean to lead anyone astray (men always protest this). It is simply that I used poor judgment in not checking with his wife, Flora, to see if what he seemed to be telling me in his sparse daily journals was really the way things were at home, come Thanksgivings After checking half a dozen of Frank's Thanksgiving entries, I concluded the Kimballs were not really into celebrating Thanksgiving here and hazarded the thought that since the Kimballs had left New England before President Lincoln had declared a national Thanksgiving Day, theyjvere likely never into Thanksgiving. If I had tried hard I could not have been more mistaken. Even as I wrote that, a warning buzzer went off in my head. But I sent the copy in. Then I got out the Bible for writers who wish to appear more learned than they are, the Encyclopedia Britannica, and looked , up Thanksgiving. So the first harvest festival was celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621, then in 40 years it became a regular event in the New England colonies. By the end of the 18th century Thanksgiving Day was an institution celebrated by all New England. So the Kimballs were New Englanders. Need I retrack more? ' Just to make sure that, this time, I had the message right, I called Helen Lamb of the South Bay Historical Society and herself a walking history book of, the entire San Diego area, but especially of the South Bay. -I asked Helen if she knew whether the founding fathers (of our South Bay were big on Thanksgiving as a holiday. Helen said it was interesting that I would call right then, because she was deep into. ' reading Thanksgiving , material -written by the Kimballs and uuici can aciucis. She said she especially was in terested in a story about a big cheese, a 4,000-pound round, which the Kimballs shared with President Lincoln. Helen said she would read me an excerpt about Thanksgiving in San Francisco written by Flora. It was dated Nov. 24, but the year not given. We know Lincoln is in the White House anyway. Flora writes, "Our dinner was composed of vegetables from the garden grown without irrigation. Our fruits Included grapes and pears. The fowls cost three bits or three, york shillings. (Helen didn't know what that meant, but I have an idea it meant about 37j cents. Two bits is a quarter. Four bits is 50 cents, and six bits is 75 cents). "The cheese which graces our table at half dollar a pound was made by Mr. Steele of Santa Cruz. Originally the ' cheese was to be sent to President Lincoln, but it was finally exhibited atv the Mechanics Fair. 1 "A box of it was forwarded to Mr. -Lincoln and another to. Dr. Bellows. The remainder was sold. The proceeds from the cheese will swell the Soldiers' Fund by several thousands dollars. What would our small eastern farmers say to that?" Flora wondered. Now comes nostalgia time. "Our dinner is simple but suggestive and my heart turns back to its early love; goes back'to early childhood Thanksgivings when ' pewter platters of ' broad circumference were brought from their hiding places and we little opes watched withager delight the progress of pies and puddings until the. ample brick ovens hid the delicious edibles, from our view. ; "Never again can pies taste like mother's pies, or puddings emit that peculiar odor they do on New England Thanksgiving Days. Never could a -gala day flow into a happier evening than when the unbrojten family band gathers around the large open fireplace piled high with blazing wood with the first snow storm falling outside as we discussed merits of a huge dish of apples or early gathered nuts. "I have since eaten tropical fruits fresh from the tree and could hardly suppress the wish that they were as pleasant to taste as our New Hampshire Baldwins, or winter sweets." . Were the Kimballs into Thanksgiving? I had better believe and write it like it is fom now on.
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