At the IFC, Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary is playing. What a documentary. Coltrane’s ability as a composer, musician and good husband and father are celebrated by family and friends. He absorbed Christianity and practiced charity. His music reflected this. “Alabama” was his piece written to honor four black girls killed by racists. He travelled to Japan to play for the Japanese. What a guy. He’s been declared a saint by a San Francisco Church. I find the concept creepy but who cares?
On Memorial Day a friend and I walked around the beautiful, deserted, rainy Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. We were in the Japanese Gardens and Shakespeare’s Garden.
The Japanese Garden, Brooklyn Botanical Garden
The Japanese Garden, Brooklyn Botanical Garden
The Met’s exhibit of Chinese Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties (221 B. C. – A. D. 22) wasn’t crowded but it was dark. The lack of light added to the mysterious, foreign atmosphere. How did the farm animal ceramics survive? Military figures and their chariots abound. Since it’s on the second floor I walked down the stairs to the Great Hall. For the first time I noticed the benefactors plaques that hang on the stairway walls. Each plaque is dated in Roman numerals The first: MDCCCLXX-MCMXX (1870-1920) has a list of the rich and powerful men of that era: Joseph Pulitzer, Benjamin Altman, among others. Other luminaries on other plaques include Junius S. Morgan, J. Pierpont Morgan, John Jacob Astor and Ira Gershwin.
Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine-year-old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.
Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie.
Something’s eating at NYPD Det. Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.
A friend was sitting down the block at Rosemary’s on Greenwich Ave. It’s a large restaurant. I was seated at the other end wondering where she was. Finally, a waiter put two and two together and pointed us out to each other. We quickly made up for lost time by ordering a delicious, weird pasta dish – linguine with preserved lemon (what’s that?), pickled chili, and parmigiano. Hasn’t parmigiano joined several other Italian words i. e. ciao, al dente, balsamic that have crept into American lingo? After racing through the linguini in record time and still feeling a bit peckish, I averted my eyes from a hateful brussel sprouts dish and ordered lard, soppressa and homemade focaccia. With the help of a glass or two of white and red, my friend and I mosied down memory lane. it was a delicious lunch.
At the Met a friend and I went dutifully to the Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun exhibit. Le Brun was a survivor. She lived during the turbulent years, 1755-1842, painted for the ill-fated court of Louis the Sixteenth, escaped France with her head, and lived in exile in Austria and Russia. If only we could have appreciated her art. It’s superior candy box, the kind of criticism that is regularly thrown unjustly at Renoir. We then wandered past some Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780 -1867). What a difference. He painted, like Le Brun, the aristocracy. He caught their hauteur. And can anyone else paint textiles like Ingres? There’s a painting of a gorgeous, snooty Blessed Virgin worshipping the Host. From the expression on her face, to quote my friend, you wonder if it’s vice versa. The 1775 portrait of Moltedo has the subject clothed in rich, opulent cloth and soft, very strokeable fur. Then, we went in search of one of my favorites, Stuart Davis. At last we uncovered one painting of the Jefferson Market. Once upon a time the Met had an entire room devoted to Davis’s art. Onward to the Islamic Art galleries and the flow and diversity of Arabic calligraphy. We then headed to the members dining room and feasted on delicious crab cakes and the lovely spring view of Central Park.
Somebody’s got to do it.
Le Brun, Self- Portrait
Ingres’s Portrait of Joseph-Antoine Moltedo (1775)
Edward Snowden “They frame this false choice between security and privacy. But you can have both … Surveillance isn’t about safety. It’s about power.”