Saturday, April 9, 2011

Media set in Cambridge

Dear readers,
I'd like to make up for lost time from March and post every Saturday in April, but too much Puritan theology at once will tire both you and me out. The following is a sampling of media set in Cambridge. It isn't intended to be an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination; it's just for fun. (If you're looking for a good Cambridge filmography, another blogger can provide you with that).

Parts of the music video for the lively Born with a Broken Heart by The David Wax Museum take place in Harvard Square, and parts take place on the Red Line. (I don't know about you, but I recognized the Red Line by the upholstery on the seats and the color of the car's floor before the exterior shot of the train...)

This Good Asian Drivers' humor video, a tale of internet dating to the tune of Colbie Calliat's song "Bubbly," is set in Cambridge. One of the characters is seen in a local public park, and when the two finally set up a blind date, they choose East Meets West, a bookstore on Mass Av near Central Square. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with the duo, the guy is fully aware he's not the best singer in the world -- he's actually a slam poet, and the woman has her own act as a singer/songwriter. They're both excellent).

You've probably all formed your own opinion of the 2010 movie The Social Network by now... and yes, much of it is set at Harvard, which means lots of shots of Cambridge. Many scenes take place in front of recognizable Harvard buildings, such as the Harvard Lampoon building.

In my opinion, if you're looking for a movie about larger-than-life college antics and ridiculous sums of money that's based on a true story and set partly in Cambridge, The Social Network isn't the best that Hollywood has to offer. The 2008 film 21 is based on the story of an MIT-based team of blackjack card counters, and of course, it has shots of the other famous campus in town.

Of course, Cambridge has also been home to an impressive number of influential poets, including e.e. cummings. Cummings was born in Cambridge and received both a B.A. and an M.A. from Harvard. His childhood home, at 104 Irving Street, still stands, but it is privately owned. Here's an e.e. cummings poem from 1922, painting a beautiful portrait of "unbeautiful" people.

the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls
by e. e. cummings
the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls
are unbeautiful and have comfortable minds
(also, with the church's protestant blessings
daughters,unscented shapeless spirited)
they believe in Christ and Longfellow, both dead,
are invariably interested in so many things—
at the present writing one still finds
delighted fingers knitting for the is it Poles?
perhaps. While permanent faces coyly bandy
scandal of Mrs. N and Professor D
.... the Cambridge ladies do not care, above
Cambridge if sometimes in its box of
sky lavender and cornerless, the
moon rattles like a fragment of angry candy

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