Comments from TheaterBuff1

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TheaterBuff1 commented about Demolition of DuPage Theatre gets underway on Jan 16, 2007 at 9:59 pm

A lot of you posting comments both here and at the DuPage Theatre page might’ve mistakenly thought this saga was ultimately of no significance, overlooking the fact that the DuPage Theatre was designed by the most highest ranked theater architectural firm of all time — Rapp & Rapp. In brief, this was not a theater that could be casually torn down and with its being of no consequence. Rather, what took place there now reflects on Chicago as well as the entire state of Illinois. And like it or not, this matter is about to get much bigger, now that Barach Obama, U.S. Senator from Illinois, just announced his bid for president of the United States. Coming across you people the way I did was a bit like the ending of that “Lord of the Flies” movie when suddenly an adult appears on the shoreline accompanied by others just when those stranded but refined English schoolboys turned savage and in like fashion began killing each other. In brief, tearing down a Rapp & Rapp theater just isn’t done, do all of you understand that? That action crossed all lines of what anyone who’s civilized would identify as being acceptable. But you people thought, oh geeze, I don’t know what you thought exactly! That it was “just a building like any other,” that’s all?! For the answer is: WRONG! IT WAS A RAPP & RAPP THEATER!

Anyway, statements you make in public forums such as this and that are a matter of permanent record do matter. I’m sure most of you didn’t realize that at the time you posted them, but on the road ahead a lot of you are going to have an awful lot of explaining to do. And whoever’s ultimately responsible for the DuPage Theatre’s demolition is going to have some major blood on their hands that I don’t know how they’re going to explain away. For what we just saw happen in Lombard, Illinois was primal barabarianism at its purest. And in a civilized world we simply cannot allow for that. And with Barach Obama’s recent announcement the bright spotlight is on you now. It’s time for the great big “Ulp!” in other words. And you better make it good is all I can say.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Survey reveals new factors in moviegoing decline on Jan 16, 2007 at 8:38 pm

I found your comments to be typical of those of your generation, including how you cop out by saying those who came before yours are to blame for anything that’s wrong with your generation. Most people even to this day don’t even know who the babyboomers are because they mistakenly identify you with the cultural things you were brought up with. To give some examples, we think of the baby boomers and we think of peace, love, Woodstock, the Beatles and the whole bit, when in truth your generation was only the consumers of all that, not the creators of it or even the advocators of it for that matter. You could’ve been, the opportunities given you to do so were tremendous, but you chose not to. Yet we not in the baby boomer generation went on thinking your generation was about peace, love, Woodstock, etc., when it all was just a big lie. For look at the baby boomers now. A war is currently raging in Iraq a thousand times worse than Vietnam ever was, but since those in your generation face no threat of being sent over it’s like what’s it to you? When your generation was young a being sent to Vietnam was a direct threat to you, those of the older generation over you cared about it. And somehow from that you blame them for what your generation is?

I blame the generation that came before you for passing onto your generation the reins of power by mistake. But see, when they did so they were fooled by the culture you embraced, mistaking that for you. But now here your generation is, with the reins of power, and are all these wonderful things now happening as a result of it? Quite the contrary. Movie theaters at their finest are dying in your hands. And of course theater attendance is down. People can’t flock to theaters if they don’t exist, nor will they if they’re being managed improperly. Your generation embraced all the culturally marvelous things. But only to squeeze all life out of them. And when you did you never came back with anything creative of your own. For how could you when yours was just a generation of takers only? Intrinsically speaking, in your generation there was no peace, no love, just a lot of gimme! gimme! gimme! And you got got got in a way that I can only cite as a huge throwaway. “Pearls before swine” as it were, just to play the Christian card where it’s fitting.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Devon Theater for the Performing Arts on Jan 16, 2007 at 7:38 pm

Now that Pennsylvania’s State Representative John Perzel — who’s credited with the Devon restoration project (there’s a poster plastered on its front entrance saying as much) — is no longer the state’s House Speaker, it’s not clear yet where the Devon Theatre’s future now stands. I truly hope the project continues going forward (although it would help if it could do so a lot more quickly) but there’s no telling right now where this whole thing stands exactly. Anybody who knows anything about this should post what they know here. For I, along with countless others, am totally clueless.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Survey reveals new factors in moviegoing decline on Jan 15, 2007 at 6:31 pm

Since anytime following World War II can be classified as the “Post-WWII era” (including now, even) I feel I need to clarify in my case that I’m not a baby boomer, but am in the age group that came right behind that demographic. So if you’re a boomer that makes me younger than you, plus I now much better understand your total blindness to many things. The vast majority of those in your age bracket were totally insensitive to the important needs of those coming up behind you, and with your having been set for life that way that’s never changed. Add to this that you’ll be heading into Social Security next and it will become a case of so much for that once-nice thing too. Totally spoiled, your generation was given many great things, but you didn’t know how to manage them the right way, including a vast array of wonderful movie theaters that were holding up fabulously well when your generation entered their doors, but were in total ruins and shambles when your age group left them to move onto whatever else it could destroy. And you thought so highly of yourselves for this when truth be said it was one big duh-uh!!! And I for one — I suppose in a way that really upsets you — don’t want the story to end this way. I’d much rather prefer a “War of the Worlds” type ending instead.

For let’s be real about it; your generation blew it. And the evidence of that is seen in the way so many of the once upon a time great theaters are today. Take a good hard look around you, schmadrian: This one’s now a furniture store, that one got torn down, this other once-great theater is now a drug store or bank or some other stupidity. It’s like what the heck?! When the reins of decision-making were passed onto your generation was it a classic case of the mispassing of the reins or what? And the answer to that question, of course, is YES in all-caps (uh, just in case you can’t think that highly.)

Anyway, that’s just a nice hefty dose of truth. Now back to your gurglings…

TheaterBuff1 commented about Survey reveals new factors in moviegoing decline on Jan 14, 2007 at 5:32 pm

-I have to ask, because I think it informs your slant: in what era did you grow up, schmadrian?

TheaterBuff1 commented about Survey reveals new factors in moviegoing decline on Jan 13, 2007 at 8:22 pm

“Letters From Iwo Jima” is Clint Eastwood’s follow-up to his “Flags of Our Fathers,” which makes the case for how the flag raising at Iwo Jima was largely propaganda and even goes so far as trying to draw parallels between that and the war in Iraq….as if there really are any. And “Letters From Iwo Jima” tells of the famous battle from the Japanese viewpoint. In brief, Eastwood is abusively using his Hollywood stature to take advantage of a U.S. government gone amuck. And you see how the American public is right now. Little to no reaction. And in his relaying the account of the Iwo Jima battle in both cases he’s not relaying the full story. And for what ultimate aim, pray tell? Whether intentionally or otherwise, one clearcut aim is to fester overseas hatred towards America, in the far east especially. Another, to justify America’s going the same route as a runaway empire it once rose up to put a stop to. And a third is perhaps Eastwood’s never quite achieving the legendary Hollywood stature he had hoped for and so maybe this is his revenge for his ego having been assaulted in that way.

As for the tunnel vision connection to that, in Eastwood-like fashion, many Americans right now put their own egos ahead of what’s of far greater importance and thus can very much identify with where Eastwood is coming from, while failing to see the bigger picture — hence the tunnel vision aspect. This has happened before, of course, Japan up until 1945 for instance.

And movie theaters — particularly single-screen theaters where many people see the same film collectively — do not sit well with those with tunnel vision. They want truth to be what they want it to be, and home theater systems, of course, play beautifully to that. But home theaters playing to tunnel vision in that respect can also be very very dangerous. Movie theaters can enable people to get a somewhat accurate reading on what other people are thinking as well, to provide a very major reality check. Which does indeed matter. And whether the theater is packed or empty speaks volumes either way. Of course, when used for propaganda purposes, like the home theater, the single-screen public movie theater can be very dangerous as well. Through their fostering a type of group think, public theaters can lead a whole theaterful of people in the wrong direction, as was the case when Kung Fu movies were heavily exhibited in ghetto theaters back in the late 1970s and early ‘80s. There were actual cases where such showings in that setting, or in theaters in downtown settings away from the ghetto (seen as being the blame for the ghetto plight), culminated in violence sprees after the theaters let out.

But doing away with movie theaters completely was not the best answer. If movies are of good quality, and they stay loyal to the truth in a constructive way, people will come out to the theaters. The commute to and from them must be pleasant, of course. And any theater operator who ignores that…well, that’s just another type of tunnel vision. And of course attending them must always be kept affordable. A point that Hollywood itself needs to become more sensitive to.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Majestic Theater on Jan 12, 2007 at 10:02 pm

Another John Eberson theater, the Yeadon, in Yeadon, Pennsylvania, was torn down last year after a fire had gutted it. And William Harold Lee’s Victoria Theatre in Shamokin, Pennsylvania — his home town — was torn down several years back for a Rite Aid drugstore. On the really good news front though, in addition to the Majestic, the Hiway Theatre in Jenkintown, PA is about to reopen, this having been masterfully reworked by W.H. Lee and William E. Groben. You can read a great article about it at this link: View link And William Harold Lee’s West Shore Theatre just outside of Harrisburg from what I understand is doing really really well right now. And then of course there’s his State Theatre — a palace — up in Easton, PA which appears to be holding up very well. Some great photos of it by Noah Kern, plus Jim Rankin’s excellent commentary added to some, can be seen at: There also continues to be great hope for the Boyd, Philadelphia’s last standing movie palace, originally designed by Paul J. Henon and reworked by W.H. Lee in the 1950s.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Survey reveals new factors in moviegoing decline on Jan 12, 2007 at 9:26 pm

The post-WWII era. Meantime, getting on with talking about the era of today, these days it would not be unusual to hear the typical person say, “Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ may well be a good film, but it’s just not something I’m really into.” Do you see what I’m getting at? Furthermore, do you know of many people right now who find Clint Eastwood’s “Letters From Iwo Jima” even mildly offensive? For right there’s your classic tunnel vision if ever there was such, not what I’m putting forth. You’re defining “today’s world” as a free-market, capitalist, somewhat-democratic society, but I myself am looking much higher than that — straight on at actual truth itself. The rest is all just convenient denial. And, incidentally, if I find a way to bring a single-screener back it will be for all the reasons I’ve given. And it will be flocked to by people who realize — or who will have come to realize — that there are forces in this world greater than ourselves. Do you recall the classic ending of the 1950s movie “War of the Worlds”?

TheaterBuff1 commented about Majestic Theater on Jan 11, 2007 at 10:03 pm

Yes, I fully agree, what culminated in December 2006 at Gettysburg was very inspiring! Meantime, it might be interesting to note, what brought my attention to Gettysburg in the first place was my interest in the Majestic Theatre. So many of William H. Lee’s theaters throughout the state of Pennsylvania have been demolished or currently are being abusively used for other purposes, while Gettysburg went all out to restore the one it had. I loved what Gettysburg was able to do with its own W.H. Lee theater — the Majestic — while elsewhere in the state where his theaters still stand people kept telling me, “Such can’t be done.” But try telling that to the good folks of Gettysburg! Now if we could just get the rest of the state up to that same level!

TheaterBuff1 commented about Survey reveals new factors in moviegoing decline on Jan 11, 2007 at 9:36 pm

Although WWII clearly went a long way in putting all Americans on the same side in a unified sort of way, and regardless of homogeneity, I was thinking far more of the Great Depression, which did far more to boost movie theater attendance than anything else that has ever happened before or since. While television enables people to see what other people around the world are seeing, what it doesn’t enable people to see — at least firsthand — is other peoples' reaction that which they themselves see. While the Nielson Ratings inform people if or not the shows they watch regularly are what other people do, still, seeing others' reactions is totally missing from that. So perhaps moreso than anything else, movie theaters enable people to see where many others are at. And they do indeed help to unify people in ways that television could not even begin to. Which is why I do indeed feel that the absence of single-screen theaters, and theater attendance being down, are both very much political. And I have seen movie theaters fold in direct correlation to certain politicians taking office. Which is the major reason why I feel that movie theaters should have a type of diplomatic immunity, totally unlike how it is with other types of businesses.

When I go to the theater, and no doubt it’s the same with many others as well, I go not only to see a movie presented in the absolutely best possible way, but also to experience other peoples' reactions to the same presentation. And to be sure, there is something very reassuring and self-confidence building when your reactions to the movie and others is identical. But you can understand, of course, why many politicians don’t want that to occur — particular at times such as now when they’re pushing to continue on a ridiculous war, or to totally redefine what ethics and morality means or what have you. And needless to say the ultra privileged set doesn’t want this to happen either.

Of course at the other extreme, single-screen theaters can be used as a powerful propaganda tool as well, the exhibiting of Leni Reifenstahl’s “The Triumph of the Will” at theaters all throughout Nazi Germany during WWII being an excellent example. And again, television, which addresses people separately, cannot even begin to match that, nor computers and the Internet or what have you.

Now Ken Layton has made an excellent point about commercials in theaters driving a lot of theatergoers away, while in many ways I feel that ties in with what I’m saying. For commercials shown in theaters greatly undermine the theatergoing experience, which is also to say the socially unifying experience. Again, I see it as being very political.

As for movie theaters having diplomatic immunity so as to rise above the constraints of politics gone amuck, there would have to be certain trade-offs theaters would have to surrender to qualify for this. And number 1 would be NO COMMERCIALS! Add to this, nothing could be shown that could said to be unreasonably racially biased, or violence-instilling without fair justification, and so forth and so on.

If we want to bring theater attendance back up again, think in terms of what drove this when theater attendance was at its highest level — which to the best of my knowledge was the Great Depression. We can say, “Oh, well they didn’t have television back then to compete with.” But I think that’s a total cop-out. And keep in mind they did have radio. And of course there were books back then and so on. People read a lot. Still, the movie theaters did well. Very very well. And I can’t say that it was because it was more homogenous either. People from all ethnic and racial backgrounds flocked to see the same movies and each in their own way identified with them, and with how all others around them did.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Survey reveals new factors in moviegoing decline on Jan 10, 2007 at 8:39 pm

I would say — at least based on my own studies and observations — that the number one reason why movie theater attendance is down is due to the great divisions that exist in American society nowadays. Add to this that not many movies coming out of Hollywood these days aim to unify as they once did. I suppose arguments could be made that that’s every bit as much good as it is bad in that Americans have matured to the extent of being much more individualistic now. Still, it’s sad when you see the big, single-screen movie palace of old in a state of ruins because of it, particularly if you vividly remember when it had been otherwise. (Or at least I feel that way, given where I stand as an individual.) Movie theaters once gave people a greater sense of what was happening in the world, of the direction that the world was heading in. If movies made didn’t reveal this they didn’t get to make it to the big movie theaters that everyone in a unified way went to. But now so many people little care about that direction the world is going in. There’s that great detachment now. That anyone could really be that detached is all purely an illusion, of course. It’s fantasy to be sure, but one which movie theaters nowadays, if they are to remain in operation, must hopelessly try to align themselves with. It will all play itself out eventually. But to the point of humanity’s complete demise? Or will a grasp of reality take hold once more at some point? For it’s there that I see the need for the large, single-screen theater once more and a sudden resurge in movie theater attendance. But we haven’t got there yet. And there’s no telling when we will. It will happen when it happens. A “Finest Hour” if you will. Or not, as in so much for all of human history.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Majestic Theater on Jan 10, 2007 at 7:39 pm

With the No Casino Gettysburg campaign having proven triumphant it should be noted that that website Patsy cites above is no longer active other than the posting of a lot of spam. It was a very long, tough uphill battle for the good folks of Gettysburg, but now that it’s been won the historic town is now in a period of healing which in itself will take some time to fully resolve. And to that effort I believe the Majestic Theatre itself can become very central. For to be sure it is a beautiful theater and one of William Harold Lee’s best designs. And at a time like this Gettysburg is very lucky to have it!

TheaterBuff1 commented about Hiway Theater on Jan 9, 2007 at 11:46 pm

Here’s a great article about the Hiway Theatre for January 9, 2007:

View link

TheaterBuff1 commented about Mr. JIM RANKIN, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. on Jan 9, 2007 at 11:29 pm

This news comes as quite a surprise to me, as through the many conversations I had with him — both at this website and through private e-mail exchanges — I always sensed that he had a great deal of mileage left to go in him and that his greatest achievements still awaited ahead. But he has now gone on to see what no doubt will be the greatest cinema of all. But here on earth, where all cinemas still remain but works in progress, his vast knowledge will truly be missed. In the last e-mail conversation I had with him it appeared a proposed casino for Gettysburg, PA was threatening the future of its not that long ago restored historic Majestic Theatre (which President Eisenhower once attended regularly). But in December ‘06 the Gettysburg casino proposal fell through, and the theater’s fate appears to be fully secure now. I had been meaning to write to Jim and tell him my worries about it had all been for naught. Alas, the way it goes. We will really miss you, Jim!

TheaterBuff1 commented about Demolition of DuPage Theatre gets underway on Jan 9, 2007 at 8:50 pm

Sorry about the long hiatus folks, but if the latest rash of Oprah Winfrey shows is any indication — it does air from Chicago does it not? — I think I might’ve nailed down what the problem is in the DuPage Theatre’s case. Rene Descartre said words to the effect of “Hell is not a place; hell is other people,” and it appears what he meant by that was hell on earth comes about when people put themselves ahead of place in terms of what is of the far greater importance. In reviewing all the commentaries on the DuPage Theatre here at the Cinema Treasures website, the overwhelming majority of them are about “me! me! me!” when the DuPage Theatre itself is what’s of the only real importance. Relating the latest rash of Oprah Winfrey shows to all this — and oh, they’ve been God awful! — the problem in the part of the U.S. looks to be that it has become way too people focused. It’s as if there’s a huge rivalry going on there between people and place, with what is bad — the people — trouncing that which is good — the place. Assuming that the people were good there at one time — which would explain how the DuPage Theatre rose up there in the first place — Lombard lost its way when the people there put themselves forth as “what’s most important.” And see, good people don’t do that. Rather, they stand in defense of place as being of what’s greatest importance. And Lombard fell from grace in that regard — this manifest in the DuPage’s tragic fate. To get things there back where they should be, you’ve got to restore the Godly order of place first, people second. And will you? Or will it be just more of this “me me me” crap?

TheaterBuff1 commented about AMC Orleans 8 on Jan 5, 2007 at 8:59 pm

But it might be changing considerably on the road ahead in terms of its current clientele due to the all new Pearl Theatre @ Avenue North a state-of-the-art 7-screen megaplex that rose up on Broad Street in December of ‘06. And even moreso if a sizeable shopping mall rises up in North Philly to rival Roosevelt Mall. Under the previous arrangement so much money was being drained out of North Philly, which, in turn, was proving detrimental both for North Philly and Northeast Philadelphia. The old Roosevelt Mall with its accompanying Orleans Theatre respected the fact that it was in a predominantly residential area, which of course is Northeast Philadelphia’s most appropriate calling, and which of course hasn’t changed. But over the past 15 years or so Roosevelt Mall, in its quest to make money with a “the hell with anything else” approach, fully lost sight of that. But the all new Pearl signals the needed change that was long overdue.

TheaterBuff1 commented about AMC Broadstreet 7 on Jan 5, 2007 at 7:07 pm

This great review by Inga Saffron about the all new Pearl Theatre @ Avenue North appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer for Friday, January 5, 2007:

TheaterBuff1 commented about How feasible is opera in movie theaters? on Jan 4, 2007 at 6:51 pm

Aside from a great way to advance digital cinema throughout the U.S. (and maybe 700 years or so from now even to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as well) I have mixed feelings about telecasting operatic fare in movie theaters. Live stage presentations are greatly limited compared to movies, so given that, why greatly undermine the range of all that digital cinema can present? Of course seeing live opera performances via this medium enables audiences to see what they wouldn’t normally — namely close-ups — so it isn’t as if how digital cinema can expand on opera as it’s normally seen is completely lost. But I’d like to see something really really creative happening here, and so far I’m not seeing that. Some of the first movies ever made were straight on filmings of live stage performances without even so much as editing. But then some folks with real guts and a willingness to break the rules entered the scene and a whole new art form was born. The limited stage environment was displaced with actual locations, plus being able to edit expanded what could be expressed as well. It must have been fantastic back when it was all newly happening. The magic of a whole new medium being opened up in a big way. And I don’t think it would hurt any to see that sort of thing happen again. In any event, if the popularity of seeing operatic fare telecast in HD on the big screen continues to grow, at the very least it’s helping to increase the number of theaters set up for digital cinema. And, if we’re lucky, somebody’s who’s stepped out of line will get ahold of it in a way that’s unstoppable.

TheaterBuff1 commented about How feasible is opera in movie theaters? on Jan 2, 2007 at 7:36 pm

As seems to be becoming a standard pattern for the Philadelphia Inquirer lately, the article it presented about opera coming to the big screen was very misleading in that theaters — at least in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area — are not presenting opera in high definition. The AMC Neshaminy 24, for instance, I was just informed is using a low resolution digital slide projector for exhibiting the operatic telecasts instead. A month ago the Philadelphia Inquirer stated that an all new theater in Philadelphia — the Pearl on north Broad Street — had digital projection, and that turned out to be untrue as well. I wonder if this breakdown of truth in journalism is happening with other major newspapers throughout the U.S. or is it just unique to Philly? In any event it was nice thinking for a moment that an art form as ancient as opera was enabling the future to come through here in the Philadelphia area. Meantime I apologize for passing on this report without my having fully verified its accuracy first. It won’t happen again.

TheaterBuff1 commented about AMC Neshaminy 24 Theatres on Jan 2, 2007 at 6:38 pm

Thanks for taking the moment to explain that to me, as I was going to say. Over the past several decades the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area has had a very proud record of firmly holding the line against any positive technological progress coming through — I guess fearful of a repeat of when the advent of talkies turned the status quo upside down when they displaced silents — so the very thought of a theater this close to Philly having DLP Cinema came across like David Duke suddenly announcing to the world that he’s been a secret fan of soul and hiphop music his whole life. As in, April fools! Still, it was nice to think there for a moment that an art form as ancient as opera was playing an ironic role in unlocking the future. If you read the Philadelphia Inquirer article I posted a link for above you’ll see how the writer pondered how well opera will come across when presented in high definition, which, of course, made it sound like the AMC Neshaminy 24 now has DLP Cinema. And I did really have to do a double take when I read that part, given how this is the Philadelphia area he was writing about here.

TheaterBuff1 commented about AMC Neshaminy 24 Theatres on Jan 1, 2007 at 11:03 pm

So you’re saying the audience was shown still images put to music?

TheaterBuff1 commented about AMC Neshaminy 24 Theatres on Dec 27, 2006 at 7:38 pm

This great article appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer for Dec. 27, 2006 about Metropolitan Opera being simulcast on the big screen, with the Neshaminy 24 being one of the theaters in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area that will be participating:

In order for this breakthrough eventto be possible I would assume the Neshaminy 24 now has digital projection in the one auditorium where this will be occurring? If so, that’s exciting news just in itself as it will make the Neshaminy 24 now the closest theater to Philadelphia that has digital projection, displacing the United Artists King of Prussia Stadium 16, which had been the only one that did up till now.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Philadelphia Film Center on Dec 19, 2006 at 7:33 pm

On Monday, December 18, 2006, the Prince Theatre had the proud honor of hosting Philadelphia’s premiere of “Rocky Balboa,” the latest in the Rocky series. Sylvester Stallone and other stars of the movie were on hand to great the huge throng of fans who attended. More about it can be read in the following Philadelphia Inquirer article:

TheaterBuff1 commented about Changing sizes of movie theater auditoriums on Dec 19, 2006 at 7:11 pm

Magazine articles — just as it is with major newspaper articles — can sometimes get their facts misconstrued. But with that much said, you’re right, I haven’t read the article you’re referring to as of yet. but will now make it a special point to.

TheaterBuff1 commented about AMC Broadstreet 7 on Dec 19, 2006 at 5:58 pm

Many thanks to Mr. Haas for creating a new Cinema Treasures page specific to the all new Pearl Theatre, North Philadelphia’s first in approximately 40 years, and named in honor of the former Pearl Theatre which was located on Ridge Avenue (/theaters/9485_0_2_0_C/)

Given its choice location alongside a major Philadelphia thoroughfare, and near to Temple University as well as several major Philadelphia residential neighborhoods, it is expected that this all new Philadelphia theater will fare especially well in the weeks and months and years ahead.