Annie Hall

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Lisa Fliegel + Woody Allen +  Ben Shahn —

In 9th grade I went to see the movie Annie Hall in Newton Center with a big group of friends. It was a sweet little theatre you could walk to from your house. Now the theatre’s a hypo-allergenic, odorless nail salon where people, indigenous to somewhere else, wash your feet. You are supposed to put their tip into a small envelope which you slide across the counter at check-out, as if in an act of subterfuge, espionage. The rules were always a little bit different in Newton, whose own indigenous people would not want to appear uncouth.

In the dark theatre I couldn’t see my friends’ faces as they watched, so I waited in anticipation to hear them share my laughter. I’d already seen the movies, and it was as if I’d waited my whole life for this dialogue:

Allison: I’m in the midst of doing my thesis.

Alvy: On what?

Allison: Political commitment in twentieth century literature.

Alvy: You, you, you’re like New York, Jewish, left-wing, liberal, intellectual, Central  Park West, Brandeis University, the socialist summer camps and the, the father with the Ben Shahn drawings, right, and the really, y’know, strike-oriented kind  of, red diaper, stop me before I make a complete imbecile of myself.

Allison: No, that was wonderful. I love being reduced to a cultural stereotype.

Alvy: Right, I’m a bigot, I know, but for the left.

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