Today was the first 'shorts & tee' hiking day. I felt overheated as I ventured up the paths at the northern tip of our Island, but when I came down to the Hudson River the illusion that Spring was near faded away. Dark clouds were rolling in ahead of the cold front, and the River was choppy. The robins flitting in the branches along the riverbank will need to find a warm place to sleep tonight: snow is predicted.
I'm in a lull between performances this week, though next week will be busy: TRAVIATA on Tuesday, Kate Lindsey's recital on Wednesday, and DONNA DEL LAGO on Thursday. Kate's recital, by the way, is a public event at the Goethe Institute (across from the Met Museum) at 7:30 on Wednesday evening, March 21. For the very modest cost of $10 you can discover this young mezzo-soprano who reminds me so much of Frederica von Stade: beloved Flicka who jumped directly from Mannes to the Met and into the hearts of Mollie and me and thousands of others.
On the ballet front, may I draw your attention to Pauline Golbin's Dancer on Dancer interview with Craig Hall at the NYC Ballet website (link to the site in the right-hand column). Yes, Craig Hall - that guy who is really a principal dancer but is being held hostage in the Corps. Even though this picture of Craig & Janie Taylor appears to have been taken by a traffic helicopter hovering above Lincoln Center, I love it because it reminds me of the stunning performance these two dancers gave in FAUN.
Also in the Dancer on Dancer area of the NYCB site are some new photos by Kyle Froman.
Last week while Lisette and I were savoring Pain Quotidien's trance-inducing hot chocolate, one of the dancers came in with her folks. Naturally I was spellbound, and too shy to say anything to her...and besides, she deserves to have her lunch in peace. Once I asked Vinson Cole if singers like to be 'recognized' in public; he thought, in general, that they do. Dancers seem more reticent to me, and comparing conversations I had with dancers and singers while working at Tower I must say, singers really love to talk while in general the dancers were more reserved; I suppose they do their 'talking' onstage though I did find that 'the bigger the star, the friendlier they are'. I remember a story about Janis Joplin going shopping for a winter coat at Macy's years ago and being recognized by the clerks and other customers and having to sign a few autographs. After things cooled down, Janis said to her publicist: "Shit, I can't even go shopping in peace any more." Her friend chided her: "Oh, Janis...you LOVE IT!" to which JJ finally replied, "Yeah, you're right!"
Since I'm rambling, I'll mention that I'm re-reading James McCourt's 1971 novel MAWRDEW CZGOWCHWZ, the story of the world's first operatic oltrano. This was a landmark novel for opera queens, of which number I suppose I must include myself. Actually a few of the characters are based on people I knew in my very early opera-going days. Some of them are still going, too. There is a 'musical' error in the book which I find amusing. It seems like Mawrdrew's story would make an entertaining film though I suppose the potential audience would be pretty small.
The McCourt book, with it's gay profusion of words, is taking me longer to get thru than the book I just finished, Woodward & Bernstein's FINAL DAYS. What a page-turner that proved to be! I lived thru the whole Watergate era but I'd forgotten so many of the details. The one truly unforgettable incident, which stays with me to this day, was the moment when - during the endlessly droning hearings - Alexander Butterfield let the cat out of the bag about the White House taping system. I knew right then the Nixon presidency was over.
Remembering that put me in mind of another historic moment of 'live television' in 1963. My brother and I were idly watching the blanket coverage in the days following the John F. Kennedy assassination. We were sort of lulled into a stupor by the whole thing. They were bringing Lee Harvey Oswald out from a holding cell to transport him to prison and, in what seemed like slow-motion, Jack Ruby stepped out of the crowd and shot Oswald. My brother and I were struck dumb for a split second, as were the commentators. Then all Hell broke loose.