Hands up everybody who’s read Charles Darwin’s The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms : With Observations on Their Habits. I thought so.
Yes, it was tedious. It was also fascinating to witness the care Darwin took with his experiments. The book was chosen for discussion by the Garden and Forest Bookclub at Central Park’s Arsenal. It was delightful to be immersed in an early evening discussion of Darwin’s background, his science, and his interest in all of nature. How relaxing not to be discussing current events.
Chromatic Space is a celebration of the eightieth anniversary of American Abstract Artists. It’s at the Shirley Fiterman Art Center in Lower Manhattan. I wanted to see the work of Clover Vail and, as usual, she didn’t disappoint.
A Tree Falls in Brooklyn to quote my clever friend, C. B. I hope that’s not your Mitsubishi.
Sunday evening was spent for a few hours in The Frick Collection’s Music Room. The Carducci Quartet, two violins, one viola and one cello, played a lively selection of Mendelssohn, Shostakovich and Beethoven.The Anglo-Irish quartet plays across a gamut of classical and modern. The concert began at five p.m., ended around seven and then it was on to dinner at Le Charlot, a very snazzy, local French bistro.
Part of the City Center sprawl is the Studio 5 series that is presented in a 56th Street studio. It began with Damian Woetzel and Wendy Whalen, sitting on high chairs like life guards, talking to the 200 member audience sitting around the perimeter of the large, bare space. Whalen and Woetzel met in 1986 when both were fledgling dancers at New York City Ballet. Woetzel is now the Artistic Director of the Vail Dance Festival. The evening’s program focused on Remixing A Festival From Vail to New York. The workshop is the first of four about dance. The dancing began with Robert Fairchild preforming a solo dance that Woetzel critiqued. This was followed by Unity Phelan and Cameron Dieck, young NYCB dancers, demonstrating how to interpret various dance movements. Heather Watts joined in the discussion and led Phelan through a few suggestive steps. Cameron Grant was the pianist who tripped merrily along with the dancers.
It’s an immediate, behind-the-scenes experience. I can’t wait for the next three sessions.
Friday night a friend and I knew why we love NYC. We attended The Music of Gerry Mulligan at Julliard. The jazz pianist, Bill Charlap, was the conductor. In addition to leading the Julliard Jazz Orchestra, Charlap played several of his favorite Mulligan pieces. As if this
weren’t enough, he also gave succinct summaries of Mulligan’s musical development. Line for Lyons was a tribute to Mulligan’s pianoless quartet that played at the west coast club, The Haig. .Everyone who’s interested in jazz knows that Mulligan played the baritone saxophone. I had not realized what a fine composer he was. Thanks to Julliard, now I do. The audience in the Peter Sharp Theatre was a mix of family (“My grandson is the drummer,” a very proud grandfather told me.), fellow students who shouted encouragement whenever their musician pal was cited by Charlan and the rest of us jazz lovers.
It’s great fun being a two hour docent at Judson Memorial Church during Open House New York. People are in awe seeing the LaFarge stained glass windows. They soak up the Judson history and nod approvingly when told that Judson welcomes all, whether you believe in a religion or not is your business as is your sexual orientation. Some know about Judson’s rich theatrical and dance history. Because we don’t have pews, many are surprised it’s an active church. It is wonderful to stand in a church you know well and have other people, in their delight, remind you of how luck you are to be a member of such a special space.
Was it only last Saturday that I flew home on Virgin Atlantic fortified by Le Latin Fizz, champagne and South American citrus? Want to spend a lot of money? Want to die poor? Fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class. When you arrive at the airport you’re ushered to a private section, usually an elevator ride to another floor. At Heathrow the Virgin Atlantic Club resembled a swanky scene from a James Bond movie. Enough of this bragging. Arriving at JFK was a wake up call. We returned to the homeland with a jolt. Were the supervisors who run the entry experience trained at Rikers? Round and round we went in circles until one of the employees shouted stop. Okay, I’ll stop.
The next night was the first Frick concert. It’s a harbinger of autumn, a delicious season in NYC. The Brazilian Guitar Quartet played, among others, Albania, de Falla, Villa-Lobos.
Off to Granville, New York, on the N. Y. – Vermont border to spend time with lovely friends. They live part time in an 1880s house built by a great-grandfather. We travelled around the area and had fun trying new
restaurants such as The Good Beet in Greenwich. That’s pronounced Green Witch and it’s worth the trip alone for the brisket. North of Granville is Rathbun’s , an old favorite for delicious food (buttermilk pancakes, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy) and cardiac arrest. In between eating we travelled the Vermont backroads where autumn is in full swing. Calendar perfect views were everywhere. We went to Roy Egg to say hello to an old pal, Leroy, who is obsessed with chickens and eggs.