Here’s an e.e. cummings’ poem, “maggie and millie and molly and may”.
maggie and millie and mollie and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)
and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles, and
millie befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were; and
molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles: and
may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.
for whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.
I’m off to Sicily soon and have been brushing up on Greek and Roman myths. The myth of Persephone originated near the town of Enna. Playing in a field one day, she was abducted by Hades who took her to the Underworld. Her mother, Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, refused to allow plants to grow as long as her daughter was kept captive. At last a compromise was reached. Persephone would spend some of the year in the Underworld (winter) and return to the earth and sunshine in the spring. I’m going to Enna in the springtime. The original shrine has been replaced by a race track.
And now a question about Artemis/ Diana. If I were a lesbian and had opened a restaurant/bar/yoga-pilates center, I’d name it either the goddess’s Greek or Roman name. Artemis never wanted to marry and she was accompanied by fifty fleet maidens. Has she been embraced by the lesbian community?
On Sunday I got out the sleigh and dogs and headed to the Frick for an all Schubert concert by Wolfgang Holzmair. The Frick Music Room is a circular space with brocade covered walls and a raised platform on which Holzmair and his piano accompanist, Russell Ryan, performed. I chose to sit and listen to the songs without aid of the provided text for fear of crinkling the pages and driving my fellow guests crazy. It was a warm, intensely melodious afternoon in snowy Manhattan.
Monday night my hiking friends and I celebrated Chinese New Year. One of our members does all the arranging with a mid-town restaurant. This year, while spinning the lazy susan, we were regaled with a brief history of the Chinese zodiac, courtesy of one of the servers. The dragon, the only mythical sign, is made up of four animals: the fish, the snake, the lizard and one other I can’t remember. Happy Year of the Horse!
Wednesday I was at the Arsenal, the building that predates Central Park, at 65th Street and Fifth Avenue. We met in the conference room that has the original 1858 c. drawing plan of Olmsted and Vaux. It won the design to expand the park.
There’s something mesmerizing about Chris Christie aka the prince of Port Authority. He reminds me of other hypnotic fat men: Sydney Greenstreet in The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca, Count Fusco in Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White.
February 2nd: R. I. P. Philip Seymour Hoffman. The last movie I saw him in was A Late Quartet. He and the other wonderful actors created the impression that they were highly skilled musicians who had been playing together for years. Hoffman was buried from St Ignatious Loyola, another man who had his own terrors. Although there were many mourners present, not one carried the coffin. Instead, it was carried, I guess, by minimum wage employees of Frank Campbell.
While the rest of you were watching. agonizing over/ betting on/ Super Bowl, a friend and I went to Craft, Tom Colicchio’s laboratory, I mean, restaurant on 19th Street. The service was fine, the space was ample (we’re talking Manhattan) and the greens were gritty. Feb. 2 was the first time I’d been back in three years. Now, there’s music. Did a consultant suggest that that would make the restaurant more hospitable? I preferred the more formal atmosphere.
Highlights in Jazz celebrated its 41st anniversary on Feb. 6. Jack Kleinsinger, its creator, was in fine form. A woman approached him in Las Vegas and said, “I hope you don’t mind my saying this, but you look like Jack Kleinsinger.” Kenny Barron, the jazz pianist, was also in fine form.
Don’t tell me NYC isn’t a carny town. From my window I see the Empire State Building. During daylight hours it’s as staid as a banker. Once the sun goes down, it turns vibrant multicolors every few seconds, resembling a hypodermic needle crossed with a jukebox.
Sunday Chamber Music Society concerts are a treat. Held in Alice Tully Hall the acoustics are perfect and the lighting is just right. I have heard that Alice Tully was a tall woman who demanded that her auditorium, both the original one and this renovated beauty, have plenty of leg room. If only she had owned Delta Airlines. January 26’s concert featured Schubert, Spohr (Who he?) and Beethoven’s Septet in E-flat major for Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn Violin, Cello and Bass.
Jazz Tuesday is held in John Birks Gillespie Auditorium. At the door there’s an inviting sign, Jazz Tonight. On Jan. 28 it was big band night, featuring the wonderful singers: Brianna Thomas, Charenee Wade and Charles Turner. There was a 40’s feel to the mellow, dynamic music. You can visit Jazz Tuesday’s website at www.jazzbeat.com.
Later in the week a friend and I went to the movie, Dallas Buyers Club. Matthew McConaughey filled the screen. He’s morphed into being a character actor and chews the scenery with abandon. Jared Leto is currently walking on water. To quote my gay friend, he’s tired of the gay community always being represented by a transvestite. We then joined the crowds on Super Bowl Boulevard, Broadway to you. What a zoo! We were originally scheduled to go on the toboggan ride but it involved walking two blocks in sub zero weather to pick up our tickets and then retrace our steps to
stand in a long line. Secretly, I was relieved that we decided to forgo the pleasure and instead ate a delicious Chinese meal with not a vegetable in sight.