Show & Tell: A Life of Endless Summers


Well, hi! I hope you’ve been having a nice pandemic. Me, I’m chugging along on a routine of sleeping in late, gardening, reading, watching enough television to brainwash a six-year-old, and sneaking in a little nap now and then. I’m not proud of my time usage—haven’t tackled War and Peace or started on my own novel, yet, but we are all doing what we have to do to get by in our own way.

Fortunately for all of us, The Music Hall has been keeping the cultural lights on in a responsible manner, continuing to offer musical acts and movies that are inspiring and satisfying. You never miss the water ‘til the well runs dry, and the luxury of big crowds at big events is something we all look forward to, when the U.S. has finally figured out how to act sanely during a global epidemic.

I’m writing because TMH has scheduled a movie that I just can’t resist seeing and talking about. It’s a documentary by Dana Brown about his father, legendary surf and motorcycle moviemaker Bruce Brown. The movie is called A Life of Endless Summers: The Bruce Brown Story, and it follows Bruce on a family road trip organized by his son to meet some of his old buddies from the surf and two-wheeler world that he hadn’t seen in years.

I’m really looking forward to the movie because Endless Summer, Bruce’s first big hit, came out in 1966 and in a small way, it changed my life. I started 1966 as a student at the University of Arkansas, having been transplanted from the West Coast where surfing was a religion. By the end of the year, I was a soldier, and things got interesting.

But watching Endless Summer that year has stuck with me ever since as a vision of how a life ought to be led. I didn’t follow that vision, but it was still powerful, and I’ve never forgotten it.

Tomorrow’s movie is a road trip movie, a son’s homage to his father, and a memorial to a very talented and influential filmmaker.

I’ll have my mask on Tuesday, October 20 at 7:00 in the Historic Theater. I can promise you a lovely film (although, sadly, no free coffee and popcorn—we have to have something to look forward to when the plague passes) and a chance to talk about a film that’s deeper than it looks.

Seating is limited, so grab your tickets soon. See you there!

Paul Goodwin