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Elephant
jwg

A great trip to NYC

rsc and I had a wonderful trip to NYC. We went down by Amtrak on Wednesday, stayed in the Fairfield Inn and Suites - right next to Penn Station, and returned by Amtrak on Sunday.

On Wednesday night we went to the Met to see Aida. What a wonderful production: great sets, staging, and costumes - and fine singing as well. There were no elephants on stage, but there were some horses including one that was very overactive. (There were a couple of elephant tusks).


On Thursday we went to MOMA to see the Henri Matisse; The Cut-Outs exhibit. I hadn't known about his technique: he painted bright colored gouache onto to white paper, cut out shapes with scissors and pinned them on the background which gave him opportunity to adjust the composition. It is rare that an artist can use a helper like that.Then when he liked it, he glued the shapes onto the background material - very clever. There was lots of explanation and a short film of him doing it. At one point he was sitting in a chair and pointing to his assistant as to where to pin the shape. It is there until Feb 8 next year.


That evening we went to see Gone Girl, an interesting movie.

On Friday we walked down the entire High Line - starting at the newly opened Interim Walkway at 34th st. The High LIne is such a brilliant reuse of an old structure - lots of people were there and the plantings were in excellent shape. It seems to be well funded - we saw lots of works there tending the plantings. And then lunch with a classmate of Robert's. In the evening we went to Village Contra, the NYC gender free contra dance (that for the moment isn't in the village while the LGBT Center is being reconstructed). I'd forgotten to bring a skirt - but a quick trip to Goodwill earlier in the day found a nice one - although a bit too big so it will need some adjustments. And a bunch of us met up afterward at the Stage Door Deli (almost next door to our hotel) and 2 blocks from the dance.

On Saturday we went to the Frick Museum and to the Central Park Zoo. Although I lived about 3 blocks from the Frick for many years - middle and high school - I had never been there. It is a mansion turned into a museum with a number of very fine works. I used to go to the Zoo with my mother when I was little kid. It was different then - I think there was a smelly monkey house and lions, etc. in small cages. It is much more humane now. There was a snow leopard exhibit outdoors but we never did see any of the snow leopards. Dinner was at Paulo's, a fine italian restaurant near the concert hall. And for the evening we went to see Jeremy Denk, a most excellent pianist, at the 92St Y auditorium. The program Haydn sonata, a potpourri of Schubert intermixed with Janáček where parts of the Janáček themes were related/suggested by the Schubert; the second half was Mozart's K511 Rondo (which we had heard Richard Goode playing a week before) and Schumann's Carnivale.

We returned on Sunday.

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wow! You guys really know how to pack a couple of weeks worth of good stuff into a couple of days. I am envious. I love the west coast and particularly Seattle but it would be fun to pop on a train and be in NYC before lunch.

Well, we don't quite get there before lunch -- that would require getting up (what we consider to be) way too early. But it's nice that we can leave the house at a reasonable hour and have no worries about making it to the opera on time that evening.

Oh, you're making me nostalgic for the wonderful town.

Q about the skirt: is that to indicate that you're taking the "gal" parity in the dancing?

I dance either role. In our gender free dances we don't use ladies and gents, but bare arms and arm bands. The skirt is cooler than jeans and it is common for some folk dangers to wear skirts regardless of gender identity.

Folk dangers, eh? Well, remembering how enthusiastically I used to spin, that's not far off (except in decades).

What terms do the callers use instead of (e.g.) "gents" and "ladies"?

Our convention is that the person dancing what is the gents role is wears an arm band - often no on the arm. This makes the role that a person is dancing identifiable which is helpful for experienced dancers to help beginners by knowing what role the person is. The callers say bands or bares to identify the roles. One of the problems with bears and bands is that they sound somewhat alike. There have been some experiments with other terminology such as reds and blacks, port and starboard, and some others.

One of the problems with bears and bands

...is that bears are rarely good musicians.

Oh? I thought "bears" were ... never mind. ;-)

Yeah, I thought of that ambiguity but decided to let it go.

often no on the arm

Hm?

Presumably typo for "not".

That's what I supposed, but wouldn't that make it harder for a newbie to spot?

Well, if lots of people are wearing them in other visible places -- around the neck (loosely, obviously), for instance -- they catch on. I don't always wear one anyway, because with some partners I like to switch roles in the middle of the dance. This has been the subject of much discussion among dancers, some of it not the least bit contentious.

I often wear my arm band coiled around my name button which is on my chest (well, actually the shirt) so that is easy to spot. It is more important for the experienced dancer to see the band on a newbie so that if they are out of place they can e redirected (best with hand gestures, not words).

Yeah, I can see that.

"Cooler" can of course refer to either temperature or level of, um, sophistication. While both are applicable here, it's the temperature that's the controlling factor, at least for us.

Sounds like a great visit

I lived near the Frick when I was young. I remember several class field trips there. I thought it was boring...but then again I was only about ten.

Oh how I wish I could visit there today.


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